County drops Jim's Disposal

Mille Lacs County commissioners decided at their Nov. 20 meeting to hire a new recycling contractor for the next three years to replace the one the county has had since 1998.

After getting clarification of part  of a proposal by one of the two companies that submitted proposals, commissioners chose J. Vanderpoel, Inc., Milaca.

The vote to switch from Jim’s Mille Lacs Disposal, Milaca, was 3-2, commissioners Phil Peterson and Dan Whitcomb voting against the motion and commissioners Frank Courteau, Roger Tellinghuisen and Jack Edmonds voting for it.

Board chair Edmonds cast the deciding vote, as he had to twice on other motions at the preceding meeting.

When the item came up at the Nov. 6 meeting, Commissioner Courteau said he wanted to know exactly what the word “drastic” meant in the Vanderpoel proposal in regard to fuel prices.

Vanderpoel then provided additional information on his proposal regarding fuel surcharges, commodity pricing, disposal locations and price increase intervals, according to Land Services Office director Michele McPherson.

Commissioners reviewed that information last week and awarded the bid to the Vanderpoel company.

The Vanderpoel proposal was for $4,731 a month for 2013, or $56,777 annually, with no increase for 2014 and 2015.

The Jim’s Disposal proposal was for $4,900 a month for 2013 ($58,800 for the year), $4,998 monthly in 2014 ($59,976 for the year), and $5,097 for 2015 ($61,175 for the year).

The current price from Jim’s Disposal is $4,800 monthly, or $57,600 for the year, and has not increased the past two years.

County Administrator Roxy Traxler said at the Nov. 6 meeting that the difference between the two proposals would amount to about $9,000 over the three-year period.

“I understand that $3,000 a year is a lot of money,” said Commissioner Peterson in an interview Monday. “But a lot of people like Jim’s Disposal.”

One of the reasons Peterson voted against the Vanderpoel proposal is that Vanderpoel plans to use the county’s Public Works site for its collection site in Milaca to begin with, with plans to move to another location  “at a later date.”

“It wasn’t clear whether that means outside the gates or inside,” Peterson said Monday.

At last week’s meeting Peterson questioned if the county’s insurance would cover such a use and Traxler answered that it would. Peterson also expressed concern about the Public Works site being the last area to be plowed during a snow event.

There is a fixed site in Princeton, which will remain under the Vanderpoel contract, and mobile sites in Onamia and Isle, which the Vanderpoel proposal says will remain, although a fixed site is planned for Onamia at a later date.