County Board wrap for Nov. 26 meeting

Universal Recycling Technologies to dispose of electronic waste collected by county

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed to a contract with Universal Recycling Technologies Nov. 26 for the transportation and recycling of consumer electronics collected by the county at the environmental center and at remote collection events.

Universal Recycling has facilities based in Oakdale, Minn., and Janesville, Wis.

Washington County has been collecting electronic waste since 2008. In 2012, the county collected 1.6 million pounds of electronic waste.

Universal Recycling Technologies manages collection programs in 20 states and works with many of the large equipment manufacturers. In 2013, the company will recycle 35 million pounds of electronics. Universal Recycling is certified to the e-Stewards standard for responsible recycling and re-use of electronics.

The Washington County Environmental Center, 4039 Cottage Grove Drive in Woodbury, provides residents with a free, year-round disposal option for household hazardous waste, electronics and recyclables. It is open noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

The center accepts household hazardous waste, electronics and recyclables. The center also has a “free product room,” where residents may browse the shelves and take home previously owned products such as paint, stain, automotive supplies, household cleaners and other products. All items brought into the environmental center are inspected to determine if they are usable products.

County seeks grant tax system upgrades

The Washington County Board of Commissioners authorized a grant application Nov. 26 to the Minnesota Department of Revenue to help pay for upgrades to the property tax collection system.

Washington County extracts data several times a year for submission to the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue is modernizing how it collects, tracks and uses the property tax data received from counties. As part of this modernization, the department is developing a centralized database called PRISM (Property Record Information System of Minnesota), which requires data to be reported at the parcel level. Currently, the county is reporting its data on the aggregate level. This change of practice will require staff time and system programming.

The Minnesota Legislature authorized a grant to help counties cover their costs for the implementation of PRISM. The total grant amount of $300,000 will be equally divided among the approved grantees.

County receives dividend

Washington County recently received a dividend check in the amount of $639,207 from the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust. The trust is a member service organization that provides 81 of Minnesota’s 87 counties and associated entities with property, casualty and workers’ compensation coverage, as well as risk management and loss control services designed for public entities. Washington County officials say the decision to join the trust has resulted in significant cost savings to taxpayers over the years.

The total dividend that the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust distributed to members in 2013 was $19 million: $7 million from the Workers’ Compensation Division and $12 million from the Property/Casualty Division. Washington County received $416,144 from the Property/Casualty Division and $223,063 from the Workers’ Compensation Division this year.

Since 1991 the has returned more than $274 million of fund balance to members.

According to Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust Board Chair Scott Sanders, Watonwan County Commissioner, “The 2013 dividend demonstrates the benefits of pooling, members’ dedication to managing risk and the reward of Washington County’s continued participation in the trust.”

Compiled by Jonathan Young – jonathan.young@ecm-inc.com

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