Hubbard County solid waste fees will go up in 2023 – Park Rapids Enterprise

Hubbard County residential and commercial solid waste assessments are rising in 2023.

County Solid Waste Administrator Josh Holte proposed a 27% increase in the residential assessment.

The tax per residential parcel – which are year-round residential, apartments, duplex/triplex/quadplexes, mobile home parks and seasonal properties – will rise from $158 to $200.

The commercial assessment will jump by 18%.

Commercial-classed properties are assessed based on volume, with the minimum charge going from $212 up to $250.

This special service fee is added to property tax statements.

Holte said the tax increase is due to “a culmination of several things that are going to increase our expenditures.”

First, Polk County is increasing its tipping fees next year by $5 up to $80 per ton.

Next, The waste hauling contract is increasing 13% in 2023, and “the other major impacts include the increase in fuel prices and material prices, impacting equipment, supplies and repairs,” Holte wrote in his report.

Labor and insurance contracts are also higher, so Holte said the assessment must increase more than originally anticipated.

Another major impact: closing one or both of the county’s demolition landfills.

“We are looking at a large capital project in 2023 for covering Phase 1 of the south landfill, and we need to budget annually to be able to plan for future closure costs,” Holte wrote in his report.

“This work is part of our corrective action plan from our MPCA permit to address groundwater issues.”

He reminded the county board that his department had applied for American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in late 2021.

Hubbard County was allocated $4,174,375 in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, a part of ARP.

But the county board funneled $3.38 million to Heritage Living Campus to offset pandemic-related losses at the county-owned nursing facility.

The Hubbard County Solid Waste Department had requested $563,000 in ARP funds. Today, the estimated cost of the capital project is $800,000.

“We had also hoped to utilize capital dollars resulting from the increased tax capacity generated from the pipeline project. Since those funding sources no longer seem viable, we are looking at having to account for these costs through the solid waste assessment,” Holte wrote.

In order to pay for the landfill project, Holte said his department must set aside additional capital funds over the next three to four years. Funds will initially be borrowed from the general fund or other sources.

Holte urged the county board to use a portion of the levy for this capital project.

Ten percent of the county’s 2023 levy increase is a capture of new construction tax capacity from Enbridge’s Line 3 project. The roughly $1.6 million will be set aside in capital reserves for future capital improvement and economic development purposes.

County commissioner Char Christenson said, “Even though this is a large percentage of increase per household, at $200 per year this is still one of the best deals around.”

She commented that one trailer load to the Becker County transfer station costs $200.

County commissioner David De La Hunt said, as an enterprise fund, it’s supposed to be self-sustaining through special assessments.

Board chair Ted Van Kempen opposed the increase, pointing out that property values skyrocketed, inflation is high and heating fuel is more expensive.

“Now we’re just adding one more thing to our property tax payers in our county,” he said.

Van Kempen liked the idea of pulling money from the excess Enbridge funds to cover this project.

County commissioner Tom Krueger said, “Of course, we need the money, but do we have to get it all at one time? Can we spread it out some more?”

Holte said it’s important to complete the project in 2023, otherwise costs will only rise more.

The county board approved the new solid waste fee schedule 4-1, with Van Kempen opposed, at the Dec. 13 meeting. County commissioner Dan Stacey was absent.

In related business, the board did as follows:

  • Approved the 2023 quote from Crow Wing Recycling of Brainerd for scrap metal recycling:  $61 per ton for scrap metal/appliances (paid to the county) and 10 cents per pound for batteries (paid to the county). This includes appliances, car batteries, propane cylinders and scrap metal collected at both county transfer stations. 

Nolte reported that, in 2021, the county recycled approximately 1,535 tons of scrap metal and appliances, and 10.4 tons of car batteries.
Rechargeable batteries are packaged and shipped to Call2Recycle, a national program, at no cost to the county, according to Nolte.

Alkaline batteries are thrown away with household waste.

  • Approved quotes for 2023 electronics recycling: 95 cents per pound for CRT; 7 cents per pound, flat screen TV/monitor; 8 to 15 cents per pound, covered/non-covered electronics; 1 cent per pound, printers/scanners (credit); 22 cents per pound, CPUs (credit); 80 cents per pounds, laptops (credit); $1,300 for transportation from Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations of Onalaska, Wisc. Total estimated cost is $39,140. 

From July 2021 through June 2022, Nolte says the county recycled approximately 128.5 tons of electronic waste.

  • Approved the low quote of $9,285 from Bergstrom Electric of Park Rapids for the installation of lights and outlets at the new fabric building at the north transfer station.


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