County receives $170,000 gift

What if someone walked in the door and plopped down a $170,000 gift?

That was the case for Mille Lacs County last week when the East Central Solid Waste Commission (ECSWC) made a distribution of $1 million to its five member counties.

Commissioner Phil Peterson, a member of the ECSWC board the past five years, reported to fellow commissioners at their Sept. 18 meeting that the money was headed the county’s way.

The money comes from a reserve of $2.5 million that the  ECSWC has accumulated the past few years. Peterson reported that tonnage at the Mora landfill is up 6 percent.

“We’re one of few landfills in the state that is growing and making money,” Peterson said in an interview Tuesday.

Peterson reported that Commissioner George Larson, from Isanti County, pushed to distribute the money to the counties involved.

(The other three counties are Pine, Chisago and Kanabec.)

Last year the ECSWC board distributed $200,000 to the five counties after selling carbon credits to a California firm.

The Mille Lacs share of that money was about $34,000, Peterson said.

The shares are determined by the population of each county and Mille Lacs receives about 17 percent of each distribution.

Peterson said, with $1.5 million still in reserve, that he hopes the ECSWC board can make another distribution in 2013.

The money goes into the county’s general fund.

“It helps the county a lot,” he said. “It’s a significant amount.”