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Becker County employees receive 1 percent wage increase

Becker County Human Services, courthouse, jail/dispatch and confidential services employees will receive a 1 percent general wage increase for 2010.

Becker County commissioners approved a one-year contract with the labor unions representing those employees at Tuesday's county board meeting.

According to Nancy Grabanski, the county's human services director, the overall wage increase amounts to a total of roughly $100,000.

However, as County Administrator Brian Berg pointed out, this increase does not take into account the fact that many employees have chosen to take voluntary unpaid leave, and many vacancies in county positions have not been filled. Overall, the amount of money being spent on salaries has actually decreased, Berg added.

Expansion of Perham incinerator moves forward

Steve Skoog, environmental services administrator for Becker County, presented a preliminary draft of the joint powers agreement for the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Authority.

The agreement, which includes the counties of Becker, Otter Tail, Todd and Wadena, is a preliminary step toward joint ownership and operation of the Perham Resource Recovery Facility (waste incinerator) by the four counties.

Part of that agreement would also include the proposed expansion of the incinerator's capacity from 33,000 to approximately 55,000 tones per year, Skoog noted.

He added that the four "charter member" counties would own and operate the facility, though other "merchant waste" from neighboring counties would also be sought to meet the capacity of the expanded facility.

Once the agreement is signed, the only way that a charter county could withdraw from the joint powers agreement was if another county was found to take on that county's financial obligation to the project.

Berg had noted earlier in the meeting that if the board signs the agreement, Becker County would be committing roughly $5 million toward the incinerator expansion.

The commissioners indicated to Skoog that he should continue with the process of pursuing the joint powers agreement.

Recreational plan meeting set

Another meeting of the committee working toward development of a countywide recreational plan will be held next Tuesday, Jan. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the commissioners' boardroom.

Among the items expected to be discussed at the meeting are the county's policies regarding management of tax-forfeited lands and the ongoing development of a website for the recreational plan.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454