Compromise county solid waste fee increase approved

By: 
Mikaela Koski
Thursday, September 6, 2018

The following business was conducted at this week’s regularly scheduled Stillwater County Commissioners’ agenda meeting:

SOLID WASTE FEE INCREASE

A compromise version of the solid waste fee increases proposed at last week’s public hearing was approved.

The proposed increases for pallets, commercial yard debris, construction debris, carpet, tires, and unclean barrels were accepted. Except for pallets, all of the items already had fees in place. The proposed fee increases for personal yard debris, mattresses, sofas, and chairs will not go into effect.

Commissioners Mark Crago and Maureen Davey voiced support for the solid waste board’s approach – those who use the solid waste facilities should pay more. They each noted that it was important to take all of the public comments into consideration, and that is why certain items, such as personal yard debris, will not incur the proposed fee increase.

Tuesday’s resolution increasing some of the solid waste fees was described as a “starting point” by Crago, and the commissioners noted that the possibility of increasing the solid waste assessments can be revisited next year.

FIRE RESTRICTIONS

Although at last week’s agenda meeting Fire Warden Carol Arkell predicted that fire restrictions would be lifted this week, the county will remain in Stage I fire restrictions, with the burn permit system shut down, for at least the next week.

Arkell explained that four of the six local fire chiefs she spoke to requested the restrictions stay in place. The current conditions are dry, and the wind will ensure the conditions remain dry for the near future, according to Arkell.

BUDGET RESOLUTIONS

The county’s fiscal year 2018-19 final budget was given approval by the commissioners.

A separate resolution was passed to set the fiscal year 2018-19 levies. For the new fiscal year, City of Columbus residents will be taxed 117.19 mills, in addition to any school and city mills. County residents will pay the 117.19 mills, along with 46.5 mills for road and fire funds and any school mills.

Two additional resolutions set the salaries and wages for county and extension office personnel. Non-elected county office staff will receive an increase of 2.1 percent, as well as a 25-cent per hour raise. Employees with the county will receive a longevity increase of $2 per pay period for each year they have been employed with the county. These increases do not apply to deputy sheriffs or union employees.

VICTIM WITNESS PROGRAM

The Victim Witness Advocate office lease agreement between the county and Robert and LaNita Maurer that did not pass last week was unanimously agreed to by the commissioners this week. The lease will be effective until June 30, 2019.

Last week, Commissioner Davey had a question about the victim witness grant, as she had not yet seen any of the documents. On Tuesday, she explained that although the grant awards are usually signed at agenda meetings, this year’s award had already been signed prior to any agenda meeting.

The commissioners approved the Board of Crime Control Tri-County grant award on Tuesday. It is effective from July 2018 until June 2019.

DES GRANTS

Approval was given for the Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Emergency Management Performance Grant award. This is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant the county has been awarded the last several years. This grant is to be used to help state and local governments prepare for potential hazards in keeping with the National Preparedness Goal, according to the FEMA website.

Stillwater County DES was also given the green light to join nine area counties on a multi-jurisdictional grant application. This grant will aid the counties in transitioning their Pre-Disaster Mitigation plans into Multi-Hazard Mitigation plans.

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