Wadena County Commissioners approved a proposed waste designation ordinance, which will now be sent on to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency during their regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4.

The waste designation ordinance is part of the county's membership in the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Authority (PLMSWA). Also a part of the joint powers group are Otter Tail, Todd, Clay and Becker counties. Designating waste to the PLMSWA ensure's Wadena County is able to continue to supply waste to satisfy its agreement with PLMSWA.

The matter was brought back to the board after being tabled last week when Commissioner Jon Kangas questioned the language of the ordinance. Kangas again questioned it Tuesday because of the language, which would penalize Wadena County users, including non-commercial haulers and commercial haulers alike, if they hauled trash anywhere but to the Wadena County Transfer Station or the Perham Resource Recovery Facility.

Kangas recommended that the ordinance soften for self-haulers or he would not support it. He gave an example of a resident that lived in the northern part of the county, within a few miles of the waste collection site in Park Rapids. That person could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined for hauling outside of the county up to $10,000 per day for each violation. Other commissioners agreed that perhaps this should not be mandatory for self-haulers, but all commissioners except Kangas approved of sending the ordinance along. Changes can still be made to the ordinance and commissioners requested that Wadena County Waste Director Chris McConn address those wishes in the talks with attorneys.

In other actions, the board approved:

  • Hiring Adam Licari as an assistant county attorney II. Licari is to start Feb. 24 with salary and benefits totaling $112,566.
  • Hiring Rande Woodrum, social worker team lead with a total salary and benefit of $77,105.
  • Hiring Carrie Schreiner, community health specialist at a total salary and benefit of $65,466.80.
  • Purchase of a disc mower for $9,600 from Aldrich Tractor.
  • A gambling permit for England Prairie Pioneer Club for a raffle and bingo to be held August 21-23.
  • Sale of highway equipment including a disc mower with a minimum bid of $5,000; a 1997 Chevy pickup for a minimum bid of $1,800; and a 1994 Ford L9000 for $7,500.
  • A resolution supporting the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program, "Homework Starts At Home Grant" operated by Mahube-OTWA Community Action Partnership.
  • Reappointment of two members to the Public Health Advisory Charter, Darlys Hamburg and Terri Kern for three years terms.
  • Commissioner liaison and committee assignments.
  • Rollover of 2019 election equipment funds. Those funds were to be used towards purchases of election equipment in 2020.

Commissioners also heard from Planning and Zoning Administrator Deana Malone who shared an annual report. Highlights from the report show 189 permits were issued during 2019, down slightly from the past two years. Those permits included 27 new dwellings (11 were on complete new sites) with a total value of $3.94 million. The county also saw 92 other building permits, adding $1.8 million in improvements. The one commercial building had an estimated value of $568,000. The county generated $21,875 from permit fees in 2019.