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County task force to begin studying landfill's future

A new task force is about to begin studying the future of the Kandiyohi County Landfill. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners appointed two members to the task force on Tuesday. The group will study ways to reduce costs and extend the life of the landfill, possibly by using it to produce alternative energy.

Commissioners Richard Larson and Dennis Peterson will serve on the task force, along with County Administrator Larry Kleindl and Environmental Services Director Jeff Bredberg.

Kleindl suggested a task force with nine to 11 members, including representatives from Kandiyohi Power Cooperative, Willmar Municipal Utilities and the Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission.

Kleindl said the co-op's board was to discuss the issue on Tuesday as well.

"It's something that needs to be done," said County Board Chairman Richard Falk.

Peterson said he thinks the public is more aware of the need to make changes at the landfill after a fire there last fall cost more than $100,000 to extinguish.

Kleindl said the task force will likely look at a number of ways to make use of the waste brought to the landfill, thereby helping to offset the cost of operating the landfill. Some possibilities are generating electricity by burning biofuels or methane. Another possibility is reducing the garbage to organic matter.

The task force will likely work with consultants who understand what the county would need to do to develop a waste-to-energy program at the landfill. Two companies have toured the site already, Kleindl said.

In June, Kleindl said he wanted to be careful about the cost and environmental impact of producing alternative energy at the landfill.

However, the landfill will be out of space within 20 years. Kleindl and the commissioners said in June that they wanted to start planning now so that the county is prepared for the future.

In other business Tuesday, the board approved a contract between the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department and the New London-Spicer School District. Sheriff Dan Hartog said the cost for the 2010-11 school year will be the same as it was for the last year.

Veterans Service Officer Trisha Appeldorn was reappointed to her job for another four years, through Aug. 31, 2014. She has worked for the county for the past four years, and must be reappointed every four years.

"We really appreciate the work you're doing," Chairman Richard Falk said to Appeldorn. "Our veterans do, too."

Appeldorn is currently on probation stemming from a 2008 theft charge for keeping $214 in transportation fees paid by veterans to her office. She received a stay of adjudication at sentencing, which means the charge will not appear on her record if she successfully completes her five-year probation period. The conditions of her probation include gambling treatment and alcohol monitoring.

Rick Pietrick of the state auditor's office also met with the board to discuss the annual county audit. Pietrick said he expects to have a report ready for the board by the end of September.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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