Back to the drawing board
Jail tax to lapse as new trash option is considered
An old but new option for a new transfer station sets the stage for the half-cent jail tax to come off the books, but doesn’t mean the county won’t be asking for a new one.
After pitching a $6,500 offer to the city of Marion for land to build a transfer station, which was accepted by the city council on a split vote, county commissioners are considering building south of Marion instead.
On Monday, commissioners voted to postpone town hall meetings and a mail ballot special election so more information can be gathered before they make a final decision on a transfer station location.
The reconsideration came up last week when commissioner Randy Dallke said he believes the county could shave $750,000 off the cost of a transfer station by building on 7.2 acres of ground west of an existing county shop southwest of Marion on 180th Rd. The savings would come from not having to spend as much money on dirt work at the site, Dallke said.
Instead of building a 17’ hill around a transfer station on Washington St. to provide access for dumping, the 180th Rd. location already has a hill that could be used.
At that meeting, transfer station supervisor Bud Druse said if the facility is to be built in the flood plain, state law requires an alternative location to store two weeks’ worth of waste.
County clerk Tina Spencer said a ballot question for an upcoming election needed to fund the transfer station by extending an existing sales tax specifies a dollar amount, so if the dollar amount is going to change, it would be better to change it before election information goes out.
The election would need to be held by March 20.
Commissioners decided to meet with BG Consultants to explore the idea of relocating the transfer station. Engineer Bruce Boettcher toured the prospective location with commissioners the following day, and promised to bring comparative information to Monday’s commission meeting.
- Boettcher estimated a 100’x100’ building at the Washington St. location to cost $4.4 million to $4.6 million.
- He estimated a 100’x80’ building at the Washington St. location to cost $4.1 million to $4.2 million.
- He estimated a 100’x100’ building at the 180th Rd. location to cost $3.5 million to $3.7 million. Those estimates take into account the cost of providing sewer service and water to the site, Boettcher said.
- He estimated a 100’x80’ building at the 180th Rd. location to cost $3.2 million to $3.4million.
“As of right now, with this 180th Rd. location, you’d have to have a backup in case you do have a flood, so we won’t demolish the old site,” Boettcher said.
Commissioners had earlier approved the $4.6 million plan.
Commissioner Kent Becker said he doesn’t want to ask the public to vote on a $4.6 million tax extension and say $1.5 million might be shaved off. He’d rather know what the commission wants before holding public meetings.
“Why try to sell something to that we can’t really nail down?” Becker said.
Commission chairman Dianne Novak and Dallke agreed to postpone a tax election, although Dallke’s agreement was regretful because of postponement meaning asking the public to reinstate a tax that had lapsed instead of extend a tax the public already pays.
Marion city administrator Roger Holter and mayor Todd Heitschmidt said they were confused by the decision to reconsider the station’s location after making an offer, but the county can back out of buying the land.
“There have been no documents drafted or signed to execute the sale,” Holter said.
“Maybe that would be better on the dirt work, but I think they would have to put in paved roads,” Heitschmidt said.
Heitschmidt said the city didn’t put any stipulations on use of the land when council members accepted the offer, but he hopes county commissioners will explain themselves to the council.
“If they don’t need the land for a transfer station, I would hope they would not go through with the sale,” Heitschmidt said.
Last modified Feb. 8, 2018