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Crow Wing County grants Nisswa's request for more recycling funds

The Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners discuss Nisswa's request to increase the city's 2019 funding from $45,000 to $68,000 for the operation of the Nisswa Recycling Drop-off Center during its Tuesday, Feb. 26, meeting. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

An increase in users, more materials, and now, a boost in funding is on the way for Nisswa's recycling efforts.

The Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners approved at its Tuesday, Feb. 26, meeting a request by Nisswa to increase the 2019 recycling funding from $45,000 to $68,000 for the operation of the Nisswa Recycling Drop-Off Center.

"The price of recycling is ever increasing with different factors kind of creating the perfect storm as far as how to try and fund this," County Land Services Director Gary Griffin told the board.

Nisswa receives $45,000 annually from the county to cover the recycling costs for the drop-off recycling site behind the Nisswa Fire Department. Nisswa reviews the costs with Waste Partners, its contracted vendor for recycling, to determine if more or less funding is needed.

Nisswa City Administrator Jenny Max told the council the city has become a regional location for people to take their recyclables—resulting in increased volume and increased cost incurred by Waste Partners of Pine River—but the city would like to continue to offer recycling services.

"Mr. Loge explained ... the expense to dispose of the materials is also increasing, and there is no indicator that anything will change enough to bring operating costs back to previous levels," Max wrote in a Jan. 16 memo after city officials heard from Eric Loge, owner of Waste Partners.

County Solid Waste Coordinator Doug Morris said at the Dec. 19 meeting with Max that, based on the information provided by Waste Partners, he would be able to justify an additional funding request from the city, according to Max's memo to the Nisswa City Council.

"China no longer takes recycling from the United States, which has really affected the markets," Griffin said at Tuesday's board meeting.

"An example of that is the biggest, bulkiest thing we recycle is cardboard, and it was at $100 a ton and now it's $30 a ton, so these haulers are facing an ever-increasing challenge to meet the demand, and the markets to get rid of it are ever shrinking, so it's less lucrative for them."

China had been importing about 40 percent of paper, plastics and other recyclables from the United States. But after China's new environmental restrictions went into effect, exported scrap—from plastics and paper to aluminum, copper and stainless steel—dropped considerably.

Commissioner Bill Brekken made the motion to grant Nisswa's request for more funding with $23,000 from recycling reserve funds. Commissioner Doug Houge seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

The recycling drop-off in Nisswa accepts oil, oil filters, antifreeze, glass bottles and jars (minus caps or lids), corrugated cardboard, mixed paper (newspapers, magazines, mixed mail, boxboard, pop and beer cases, and cereal boxes.

The drop-off center at 25628 Main St. also accepts metal (tin, aluminum, appliances, scrap, grills, bikes, automotive batteries, swingsets, metal outdoor furniture) and certain types of plastics (No. 1 through No. 7).

"I'm also seeing how well that process has been managed up there, and I see the amount of resources that are being recycled," said Brekken, whose district includes Nisswa. "And I just see this as a real benefit to not only just Nisswa, but the whole region up there that uses that recycling center."

In other business, the county board:

Approved the hiring of Chance Steward, land services environmental services specialist in training; Rory Schultz, land services household hazardous waste technical assistant; Lauren Czarnecka, community services public health nurse; Trevor Courneya, land services assessor in training; and Kyle Kabanuk, land services environmental services specialist in training.

Accepted the departure of Alicia Kapus, attorney's office legal assistant; Leslie Rowland, sheriff's office 911 communications officer; and Tom Espersen, land services environmental services specialist.

Authorized an aerial spraying operation for army worm infestation within the unincorporated areas of the county by Central Planes Aviation Inc. of Sauk Centre using DiPel DF.

Authorized entering into contracts between the county and the townships of Bay Lake, Center, Crow Wing, Fort Ripley and Ideal to provide 2019 annual March election coordination services.

Granted out-of-state travel requests for the administrative services director to attend the Elections Assistance Commission Standards Board meeting April 9-12 in Memphis, Tenn., with all expenses to be paid or reimbursed by the commission; the web administrator to attend the CivicSummit Conference April 15-17 in Kansas City, Mo., with all expenses to be paid from the information technology budget; and the operational support services supervisor, human resources generalist, and business and financial analyst to attend the Tyler Connect Conference April 7-11 in Dallas, with all expenses to be paid from the finance budget.

Authorized entering into a contract between the county and Subsurface Inc. of Moorhead in the amount of $437,896.20 for culvert lining on County Road 117, and county highways 1, 3 and 11.

Approved an amendment to the agreement for food, and laundry services and equipment between the county jail and Summit Food Service of Roseville, which increases the prices about 2.4 percent or 5 to 6 cents per meal.

Entered into joint powers agreements with the state of Minnesota, Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to utilize applicable state and federal laws to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against children and the criminal exploitation on children that is committed and/or facilitated by or through the use of computers.

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