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County Board questions costs at Prairieland

By Staff | Feb 25, 2013

A request for a fund transfer raised some qualms with members of the Faribault County Board at their meeting last Tuesday.

Prairieland Solid Waste, which is a joint board between Faribault and Martin counties, requested additional funds for the second time already this year.

This has made some of the commissioners a little nervous.

Prairieland has a budget of around $112,000 for 2013.

“It’s only February and we’re already transferring funds again. What’s going on?” Commissioner Tom Warmka asks.

Prairieland requested a fund transfer of $26,407 from the board.

“With this transfer, we’re already in more than $50,000,”?Commissioner Tom Loveall adds.

Prairieland has been in the process of converting to refuse-derived fuel (RDF) instead of continuing to utilize landfills and after attempts to market compost were unsuccessful.

This conversion began late last year and involves shipping the RDF?to a plant in Mankato.

“This is costing them money now, but should be cheaper in the long run,”?Loveall says.

The switch also included removing employees, which will reduce the amount of funds necessary in the future.

The board supports the conversion and understands the process will require additional funding. However, the recent request has left them wanting some answers.

Commissioner Tom Warmka suggests Prairieland make a business plan in order to track progress on the project and see where they stand within the budget.

“Business owners, farmers, many operations wouldn’t be able to function without a business plan,”?he adds. “I think this operation needs to have one so we know what’s going on.”

Other commissioners agreed that a business plan wouldn’t be a bad idea.

“It would be good to see a benchmark or guideline that lets us know what they’re up to,”?Loveall adds.

He thinks that with a business plan it would be easier to ensure spending is in line with the budget and to double check areas they may need to cut back on.

“But, at this point we do know these fund transfers are being put toward the goal,”?Loveall adds.

After some discussion, the board did approve the transfer of funds requested by Prairieland.

In other business;

The County Board considered quotes on their copier lease which is utilized by most of the offices in the courthouse.

“The lease is up so we are looking to sign a new one,”?says County Treasurer and Auditor John Thompson.

The county took quotes from Xerox and Ricoh companies and decided to go with Xerox.

“Xerox was a little cheaper and includes maintenance for the first year,”?Thompson says.

The board voted to sign the 60-month agreement which will cost $217.82 a month.

County Engineer John McDonald informed the board that advertising for oil for seal coating projects will begin.

He also reminded the board that the public hearing for the County Road 13 project will be held on March 14 in the Ag Center in Blue Earth.