Public can give input on solid waste plan at Monday meeting

Published 11:09 am Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mower County is seeking public input next week on its plan to update its solid waste ordinance that’ll address requests from landfills and much more.

The board of commissioners will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the basement board room of the Mower County Government Center, 201 First Street NE, Austin, to discuss changes to the ordinance

The ordinance is a replacement for “an old document that no longer meets today’s needs,” said county coordinator Craig Oscarson last month, following the board’s review of the new ordinance during a work session. Work on the document has taken about two years.

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The public hearing will address three items: The Statement of Needs and Reasonableness (SONAR) that, in essence, makes the case for a new ordinance; the solid waste ordinance; and a proposed fee structure. Formal action will most likely take place in late April or early May, said Oscarson.

SKB Environmental, which operates two landfills in Mower County, sparked the creation of the new ordinance when the company approached the county board to see if there was the possibility of creating a new landfill for municipal waste — or household garbage. Representatives would like to establish a 53-acre landfill near Mapleview. That issue would not be addressed until an ordinance was adopted and application made.

The new document is over 160 pages and covers a vast number of potential scenarios for solid waste in the county. Jurisdiction, licensing, transportation, abatement, storage, facilities, landfills, accumulation on private property, industrial solid waste, incineration, composting and other items are all covered under the exhaustive ordinance. County staff, planning and zoning, county board members, members of the solid waste committee, as well as attorney Scott Anderson and consultant Dave Lucas of Sherburne County all worked on the new document.

A brand-new addition that comes with the ordinance is a list of fees that will help subsidize the costs of administering the ordinance.

The fee structure covers application fees, facility license annual fees, and proposed landfill fees and deposits. Fees are assigned depending on the type of waste and facility.

For an example, someone wanting to operate an industrial solid waste landfill would pay a $4,000 application fee, a $4,000 annual licensing fee, as well as pay an industrial waste trust account deposit of 60 cents a ton.