Employment Enterprises Inc. (EEI) asks county for help funding new truck, bins

18 May 2023

Employment, Business, News, Manufacturing, Economic Development

Employment Enterprises Inc. (EEI) needs a new truck to pick up cardboard and other recyclables. And with it, the goal is to get new bins, that, with the right truck, will make their mission easier and more efficient.

Actually, a new truck would replace two trucks EEI currently uses to pick up cardboard, glass, aluminum and tin.

Right now, EEI picks those materials up from 40 different businesses in the area. It also employs individuals with developmental disabilities, with the goal to help them achieve greater independence and self-sufficiency. It has been in business for more than 50 years.

During the County Board’s planning session Tuesday, the request was made to help with funding a new (used) truck and the bins. The truck is estimated to cost about $80,000 and the bins to go with it, about $52,000, for a total of $132,000.

Tony Hennen, Morrison County Public Works Director and Drew Hatzenbihler, the county’s environmental/recreation manager, along with Pam Baltes, who is retiring as the EEI executive director, Kathy Rutz, the incoming EEI executive director and Mary Witucki, who handles the recycling in the EEI shop, presented the information to the commissioners.

Hennen said talking about recycling in Morrison County would segue really well to what EEI does for the community.

Previously, he said, Morrison County has given EEI some different grants, that have facilitated some “really neat” projects that help the county, as well as talking about the upcoming needs of EEI.

Hatzenbihler told the commissioners that most recycling in Morrison County is initiated by a governor’s Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment (SCORE). In 1989, they created a recommended set of legislation that he said was eventually adopted, mostly at least, into law.

Those SCORE grants provide funding to counties for recycling purposes. It also manages recycling mandates to go with it.

Hatzenbihler said by 2030, Morrison all other counties in greater Minnesota are required to achieve a 35% recycling rate. The seven-county metro has a higher standard at 75% by 2030.

As part of this, the state also gives Morrison County a certain amount of money every year in the form of a grant.

“We can spend it on recycling, household hazardous waste, waste reduction and reuse, as well as problem materials,” he said.

SCORE funding comes through the waste management tax, a 17% tax on every ton of waste that’s tipped in the state of Minnesota.

Currently, he said, 30% of that goes into the state’s general fund as a temporary measure to balance the budget and it was never returned.

“So there’s currently efforts to return that money to the environmental fund, which is where the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is funded, as well as where our SCORE grants come from,” he said.

Read the full article here.