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Houghton County preparing RFP for transfer station

HOUGHTON — Houghton County will put out a request for proposals for waste collecting companies that would buy or lease the county transfer station as part of operating a county-wide recycling program.

The county is working with its attorney to iron out the language in its draft of a request for proposals, Commissioner Tom Tikkanen said at Tuesday’s Houghton County meeting.

Once that is complete, the county’s Solid Waste Committee will review it and make a recommendation to the county board, hopefully by its Nov. 10 meeting, Tikkanen said. The Solid Waste Committee’s next scheduled meeting is Oct. 27.

The county board also approved an increase of $5 per ton on the cost of household and construction waste at the transfer station starting Jan. 1.

Current rates are $80 per ton for household garbage and $90 per ton for construction, commercial and other garbage.

County Administrator Ben Larson said the change was made in response to increased tonnage at the transfer station and the increased stress on employees.

“We haven’t raised rates in a while, and I think it would be an appropriate thing to have it go up,” he said.

Last year the transfer station received 14,233 tons, the highest number in the transfer station’s eight-year history. It is on pace to eclipse that mark; the 11,623 tons through September is up 7% from the same point in 2019.

Tikkanen commended the work of the transfer station staff.

“They’re always working with the bare minimum of staff, but they’re maintaining a very professional, clean facility,” he said. “In spite of that, tonnage is increasing markedly.”

Tikkanen said a new custom-made trailer is being fabricated, with the old one kept as a backup.

“It’s needed because of the increased wear-and-tear and trips made back and forth,” he said.

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