Zoning and Solid Waste Management Administrator Heather Cunningham presented a plan to reorganize the operation of the Transfer Station, ending a contract with private contractor Mahkahta, and hiring two full time 49ers, union employees, to run the processing of demolition refuse coming into the facility. The proposal was presented to the Committee of the Whole and now has been addressed at the Regular Session of the Carlton County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday February 9.
The Transfer Station would continue to have three half time employees, two to run the office and one to handle the Hazardous Waste that is taken in by the County. Since they are half time positions no fringe benefits are paid out.
Mahkahta now hauls all the refuse, either regular household or demolition materials, to the landfill in Superior. This site is scheduled to close in 2024.
Cunningham’s plan is to hire two, 49er union operators, purchase sorting equipment, and send 4,000 sorted demolition tons to the SKB landfill to the southwest of the junction of CSAH 45 and the I-35 freeway at the Scanlon exit. In this effort, SKB Environmental would haul MSW (municipal solid waste) and mixed waste to the Superior Landfill with a goal in a few years of keeping that waste to about 13,000 tons.
Savings in sorting out demolition tonnage and the cost of two union employees to run the effort would have an increase of $82,280 from the current program costs. The more that is sorted out as demolition tonnage and brought to the SKB landfill, the less has to be scheduled for a long haul to Superior. After the Superior Landfill closes the next facilities for taking that waste will double the truck transportation costs.
Also, some of the equipment used in the Transfer Station processing yard also needs updating. No major work has been done on the scale for thirty years. Coupled with this repair, a new loader and other equipment would have to be purchased to sort the demolition that came into the facility.
Cunningham commented in a phone interview, “I have seen the issues of handling demolition waste for the nine years I have run the Transfer Station. We have been buying time for awhile by not sorting demolition materials and hauling all the tonnage to the Superior Land fill. It makes sense to start making changes now because in 2-3 years the closure of the Superior facility will make the situation critical.”
As background information, demo (construction and demolition waster) is anything attached to a building. MSW is municipal solid waste – basically all other garbage that is not industrial. Mixed is both demo and MSW. There are different taxes and fees for all three waste streams.
In other County news:
Economic Development Director Mary Finnegan gave an overview of the impact of CARES Act dollars in Carlton County. $4.4 million designated for the County, cities, and townships covered not only help to local businesses and non-profits but also covered increased staff time for a local response to the pandemic, costs of safety initiatives, creating a network to strengthen health care for those that got sick and a vaccine program.
The economic infusion from the CARES Act funding has amounted to $8,018,000 approximately just for those of us in Carlton County.
$1.1 of County funds have not been allocated in an effort to see what areas need additional aid.
$700,000 has been allocated by the State Legislature to further help struggling businesses and non-profit efforts. The application is available at the County website and is due soon by February 16. Guidelines are different for this source of funds and money will be released by March 15.