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Wadena Board denies annual hauler license for City Sanitation

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By Rin Porter

Wadena County Commissioners learned Tuesday that City Sanitation – one of seven garbage haulers doing business in the county – is behind on paying its fees to the county, and may not have been bringing all Wadena County garbage it collects to the county’s designated disposal sites.

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City Sanitation’s licensed operator, Dale Anderson, and nephew Nicholas Davis, appeared at the board meeting to answer questions raised by County Solid Waste Director Mike Hanan about the company’s hauling practices and payment problems.

Hanan asserted in a written statement presented to the board, “City Sanitation currently operates as though they believe they are two separate hauling companies (requesting separate billings and providing separate payments on account to Wadena County).”

Hanan and at least one commissioner seemed to want to deny the annual renewal of a county hauler’s license to City Sanitation – the renewal being due on Oct. 1, in order for the hauler to continue doing business in the county.

Six other haulers’ license renewals were approved by the board before taking up the issue of City Sanitation’s renewal application.

City Sanitation presented a postdated check to a county employee on Sept. 26, as partial payment for its past-due account. One of the requirements for a license renewal is that a hauler be completely paid up on its account.

An employee of the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office called the bank on which the check was written, to confirm that funds were in the account, and was told that funds were not sufficient to cover the check. The employee then did not deposit the check, and notified the Auditor/Treasurer of the situation.

Davis disputed Hanan’s and Auditor/Treasurer Judy Taves’ recounting of the facts, insisting that his bank would have paid the check, had it been deposited. He did not dispute that he had postdated the check.

County Attorney Kyra Ladd informed the board that commissioners had the responsibility to assure that when they issue a license to someone, that the licensee perform all conditions of the license. She further asserted that “when companies don’t pay, that’s a crime.”

She told commissioners that not paying a bill of over $1,000 constitutes a felony.

After extensive discussion, Ladd agreed to draft a temporary license for City Sanitation so that the company could continue to operate. The temporary license runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15. By the first board meeting in December, the company must have divided itself to form two companies – one to be run by Anderson and one by Davis – and must sign an agreement to abide by all the conditions required by the county’s hauler’s license. If these requirements are not met by Dec. 3, then the temporary license will lapse, and City Sanitation will no longer be permitted to operate in Wadena County.

In other business, the board:

• Received a draft of a Five-Year Plan from the Building Services Committee, covering repairs and remodeling proposed for county properties during the period 2013-2018.

• Awarded a contract to Helmin Construction Inc. of Foley, the low bidder, to provide box culverts for a project in Wing River Township, for $178,858.80.

• Received the draft of the 2-13 Wadena County Comprehensive Plan from Zoning and Parks Director Deana Skov Malone. The plan was completed by Region 5 Development Commission.

• Heard a presentation from Mark Hansen of WCEDA, accompanied by Dean Uselman, the City of Wadena’s Economic Development Authority Director, and Jerel Nelson, the City of Staples Economic Development Authority Director, about the need for the county to establish a County Economic Development Authority or equivalent.

• Authorized the Sheriff’s Department to advertise to fill a vacant position of jailer-dispatcher and hire a part-time person to work as a bailiff/jailer-dispatcher.

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