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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Cities to be given more responsibility for compactors

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

MOUND CITY – On Monday, August 7, the Linn County Commissioners agreed to have County Counselor Gary Thompson draw up draft contracts with the cities and lake developments for their compactor sites. In reviewing the contracts recently, it was found that most of the contracts had not been updated since the 1970s.

Thompson asked the commissioners to clarify what they wanted in the new contracts.

Thompson said that Public Works Director Shaun West seemed to think that the commissioners wanted a contract drawn up that would put the permitting and responsibility of the compactor sites on the cities and lake developments.

West explained that, at present, the county holds the permit for each compactor site as a satellite site to the landfill. He said that if cities wanted to change their location, the required fencing, or the hours of the site, they had to go through the county’s permit to make that change.

West explained that recently a city wanted to clean up a compactor site and they tore down the fencing that was required in the permit from the state so it put the county in the middle.

County Clerk David Lamb pointed out that they should be cautious in their decision because it could change who pays for the compactors. He said that now, for example, through the county tax for the whole solid waste system he is likely paying $40 or $50 a year for the right to take his trash to the compactor at Mound City or any other city he wanted to in the county.

But, Lamb added, if the cities had to pay for all the expenses, that would make the cities raise their mill levies and residents would have to pay more and the rural residents would not have to pay at all.

Thompson agreed and said that people from the lake developments and rural areas would not be paying anything.

Commissioner Jim Johnson said if the cities had to pay all of the expenses would they let residents from other cities or the rural areas take their trash there.

West said that the issue of people coming from outside the county already comes up at Parker and the lake developments. He said a lot of the lake property owners do not have Linn County tags.

Thompson asked West what the problem was with the cities working under the county’s permit.

West said that he felt that each city should have some control over their compactor, whether location, maintenance and care of site, and the hours the compactor is open.

West told the commissioners that right now each city had different levels of involvement in the maintenance and clean up of their site.

Thompson pointed out that Linn Valley, Tanglewood, and Sugar Valley own their own compactors.

West said that the lakes have a unique situation where they do not have people supervising their compactor sites and did not have a fence around the site because they were inside of the fencing for the development.

Thompson said he just wanted a blueprint for the contracts.

Commissioner Jason Hightower said that the county needed to have individualized policies in place so the county knows who is responsible for what, the cities or the county.

West said that he would like to have a blueprint or contract to take to the cities to start working on the issue.

Thompson said that, from what the commissioners had said, he had an idea of what to put in the contract. He would work with West to develop a contract for the commissioners to start with that would include that the cities would apply for their own permits, maintain their own location and the county would pick up the trash and transport it to a landfill.

So, Thompson said, if the cities did their own permits, it would keep the county from having to enforce the regulations of the permit.

“I don’t want to develop something that is not consistent with what you want, “ said Thompson.

After discussion was held on what the city compactor sites pay for now – including utilities, phone service, and operator salary – Thompson and West will develop draft contracts for the commissioners to look over.

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