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Oaths given, chair chosen, trash discussed

Judge Kevin Mark conducts the oath of office for Goodhue County Commissioner Jason Majerus. Rachel Fergus/ RiverTown Multimedia. 1 / 2
Goodhue County Commissioner Brad Anderson is sworn into office by Judge Kevin Mark. Rachel Fergus/ RiverTown Multimedia. 2 / 2

The Goodhue County Board had three main agenda items for its organizational meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8: have Judge Kevin Mark conduct the oath of office for Commissioners Jason Majerus and Brad Anderson — and a ceremonial oath for County Attorney Steve O'Keefe, vote on a new chair and vice chair, and make a decision on the solid waste designation that has been in the works for 10-plus years.

The board unanimously voted to appoint Brad Anderson as chair and Paul Drotos as vice chair. According to a document by County Administrator Scott Arneson, it is common practice to rotate leadership. This means that Anderson of District 2 was vice chair for Jason Majerus, District 4, and next year Paul Drotos, District 5, will be chair and Barney Nesseth, District 3, will be vice chair. This ensures that there is not one district with a representative who sets the agenda for numerous consecutive years.

After they passed the consent agenda, commissioners discussed entering the Bench Street Landfill into the state's Closed Landfill Program and sending all county waste to Red Wing's Solid Waste Campus. According to information about the project provided by Goodhue County Public Works, the county pays $65,000 annually to maintain and monitor the landfill. If the landfill needs to be cleaned up, that could exceed $10 million. This landfill is not lined and is already leaking, according to the presentation.

As Drotos explained in the meeting, as long as it continues to rain, the landfill will continue to leak, and will thus probably need to be cleaned at some point.

If all waste generated in the county is brought to Red Wing, communities in the southwest portion would likely see an increase in the cost of garbage collection. The majority of the residents who spoke during the hearing opposed the ordinance due to the extra cost that it will probably bring to communities.

The board voted to move ahead with a negotiating period that will last at least 90 days. Haulers will be presented with an agreement to bring waste to Red Wing. If a hauler signs this agreement, it will not become valid until the county approves the ordinance. Commissioners said they hope that this 90 days will make the cost of this program on communities clearer. The board plans to vote on the ordinance in April.

The Republican Eagle with have a more indepth look at this ordinance and the costs in the weekend paper.