County OKs $10 landfill tipping price hike | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

Photo by Fritz Busch This sign in the window of Keep Me Safe, a supervised visitation center that operates through the Committee Against Domestic Abuse, offers directions on how domestic violence victims and their children can get help. Keep Me Safe recently notified that Brown County Human Services Department that it will close its New Ulm office due to a lack of funding support from the state.

NEW ULM — The county’s landfill tipping fee was increased from $45 to $55 per ton Tuesday on an unanimous vote by the Brown County Board.

The board set a required public hearing on the question for Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Action came on a motion by Commissioner Dean Simonsen of Sleepy Eye seconded by Scott Windschitl of New Ulm.

The county landfill transitioned from a volume-based tipping fee to a weight-based tipping fee in June. State of Minnesota data and area county tipping fees were considered when tipping fees were set last year. Two area counties raised their fees after Brown County set its fees.

Tipping fee income is lower than expected as hauler weights are considerably lighter than anticipated, creating less tipping fee income, according to the board request. In response, the Brown County Solid Waste Advisory Commission recommended the tipping fee hike.

“(Landfill) revenue hasn’t kept up with expenses. The loads have been lighter than we expected,” said Brown County Zoning Administrator Laine Sletta.

Board rejects placement policy change

Due to a change in state law, the board unanimously approved a resolution to not revise the county’s out-of-home placement policy, on a motion by Commissioner Jeff Veerkamp of Comfrey seconded by Dave Borchert of New Ulm.

Veerkamp said he opposed revising the out-of-home placement fee policy because he still felt parents should have some responsibility in paying the cost of out-of-home placement care for their children.

Windschitl said the home placement fee policy could be changed at a later date.

Changes signed into law June 2 require a social service agency address the best interests of the child in deciding whether to make a referral to child support or set a parental fee. It also added a condition for child support orders.

Days after the law passed, the US Department of Health and Human Services released updated guidance allowing for the default position of not pursuing assignment in foster care cases due to the lack of cost effectiveness and the best interest of the child.

The revision would have no longer made it a requirement or recommended for Medicaid-eligible children to pursue child support of the custodial parent.

Short funding shutters shelter

Brown County Human Services Director Barb Dietz said the Brown County Human Services Children’s Supervisor received a message from Keep Me Safe, the supervised visitation center that operates through the Committee Against Domestic Abuse.

“Due to the lack of increase to state funding for our programming, we have decided that we can no longer afford the size of our current office in New Ulm and will need to be downsizing,” read the message.

“Unfortunately, that means we will no longer have adequate space to provide supervised parenting time and exchanges and have made the difficult decision to close the New Ulm KMS Center when the contract is up at the end of December,” read the message.

“This is a decision based solely on funding challenges. If additional fund and/or a different space presents itself, we will gladly continue the service in New Ulm in the future. We are unable to predict when that may be,” the message added.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at [email protected].)

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