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County ready to switch solid waste operations

By Kayla Kloos

Sun Tribune

Stevens County Environmental Services Coordinator Bill Kleindl reviewed the Pope-Douglas Solid Waste Agreement with County Commissioners at their July 1 meeting.

Kleindl will take the revised contract back to Pope-Douglas for negotiations, but the commissioners agreed that they likely will approve switching its contract.

The board asked Kleindl to inform Kandyohi County of its decision and arrange a back-up contract. Stevens County's contract with Kandiyohi runs through 2009.

In other county business:

• Stevens County Engineer Brian Giese presented his monthly report to the board. Giese reported that the highway department has noticed that fuel costs are escalating and that the department is making various adjustments to offset these costs, such as mowing less.

During the County Ditch report, Giese expressed concern over County Ditch 15 debris problems. Giese set up a work session to take a closer look at these issues and possibly a redetermination of benefits with the commissioners and the land owners in early September.

• Human Services Director Joanie Murphy stated that because of a decrease in state funding, public defenders will now only represent the child in Child In Need of Protection cases. However, if a judge insists on the parents having legal council, the county will have to pay the bill, which could lead to extra costs and require the county to set aside necessary funds in its 2009 budget. The new procedure is effective on July 8, 2008.

Stevens County has only had 24 cases in the past three years that required legal counsel for a parent, Murphy said. The county commissioners agreed to contact the Association of Minnesota Counties and the state Legislature about the situation and express concern about the growing number of unfunded mandates brought upon counties from the state.

• The Internal Revenue Service increased the mileage rate for government employees by 8 cents to 58.5 cents per mile due to the rise in fuel costs. Stevens County agreed to raise the county mileage rate to match the federal rate. The new rate was effective July 1.