At their weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors were given an update on the operation of the Cherokee Landfill by Solid Waste Commission Chairman Mark Leeds, Vice Chair Jeff Bowen and Landfill Manager Brent Kach. The Commission has held several meetings recently to try and sort out the financial woes at the Landfill. Bowen said that they had hired Burkhardt and Dawson to do a thorough audit and he felt that they now had a budget set up for the landfill which would be appropriate. Commission members have discovered in recent months that the landfill operation has been a very haphazard operation for years and had never had a budget. Bowen, Leeds and Kach, who was recently hired as Landfill Manager, feel confident that the new budget will eliminate future problems. The Landfill has laid off 14 employees from a staff of 25, and if the plan presented to the Supervisors Tuesday is approved, that number would be reduced even further. Under the plan, the recycling at the landfill will not be done there, but be outsourced; the pelletizer will be shut down; tree removal services which bring trees to the landfill for disposal will be now be charged a fee, rather receiving this service free, as has been the case (private citizens will not be charged for this, however). Buena Vista and Plymouth Counties no longer bring their trash to the Cherokee County Landfill, which will reduce the size of the trash pile. Ida County has agreed to the increased tipping rate of $42/ton and will continue using the Cherokee landfill.
Implementing the new proposed budget does mean that households in Cherokee County will be charged slightly more per month than they are currently paying.
Though the Commission feels that things are covered for next year, they requested help in resolving a shortage of funds for this year. One possibility being considered is requesting an extension on a bank loan which is due to be paid off soon. The Board will discuss the issue further at next week's meeting.
In other business Tuesday, County Engineer Dave Shanahan gave a statement of completion on Project #BROS-CO18(63), which is the bridge on M-21 north of C-63. Shanahan said the road should be open for use on Thursday (May 24), and the Board gave its final acceptance of the project.
Shanahan also discussed the problem of dust control on 480th Street east of Marcus. This is a formerly paved road which has considerable traffic, and the resulting dust has been a concern of citizens. Shanahan said he will put down some topping to try and control it, and if this doesn't improve the situation, he will try a different substance (Magnesium Chloride).
Community Services Director Lisa Langlitz presented her concerns about her department's budget for FY13, in light of several funding changes which have come about due to decisions in the state legislature. She said that things are not quite as bad as she thought they might be, because the state is taking over payment for clients at Resource Centers, such as Glenwood and Woodward, and all Intermediate Care Facilities. She said that many counties are eliminating entire programs, but she doesn't want to take this way from clients, Instead she and her staff are being proactive and encouraging more participation in Medicaid programs. She presented four Budget options for the Supervisors' consideration , and the Board accepted Option #2, which was to do nothing on the Budget at this time and re-evaluate the situation in October.
Rick Angell presented the Wellmark Health Insurance rates for county employees, effective July 1, and these favorable rates were approved by the Board.