DELANO, MN Plans are in the works for Randy’s Environmental Services to break ground on a $25 to $30 million expansion project in the West Metro Business Park as soon as March 2016.
During Tuesday’s Delano City Council meeting, City Administrator Phil Kern updated the council about the status of the project and what will need to take place leading up to the groundbreaking.
“Randy’s is looking to construct a solid waste digester in our new business park that would be able to capture natural gas off solid waste and convert solid waste into a product that does not need to go into a landfill,” Kern said.
In order to stay on schedule, Randy’s needs to submit an annexation and concept plan in October, followed by a preliminary plat, final plat, and site plan.
Ultimately, Randy’s will be taking solid waste onto the site, removing recyclable products and items that can’t go through the digester, processing digestible material, pulling out natural gas, refining it and using it in their trucks, and taking product offsite once it has gone through the digester.
“From a city perspective, this will place an emphasis to make sure the site design is done properly, to make sure all potential nuisance issues, such as odor and site visibility issues are reviewed,” Kern said.
To assist with that review, Randy’s has offered to take city representatives to a similar plant in a San Francisco suburb.
“It’s pretty unusual for the city to do that,” Kern said. “However, there is no comparable product in the Upper Midwest. I think it would be helpful. I think it would be a good idea for the city during the review process to do so.”
Kern suggested that City Planner Al Brixius, a city council representative, and potentially a building code or fire code official join him on the two-day trip in October. They will review the site and talk to neighboring property owners to find out what, if any, issues exist.
He clarified that such a trip should not happen until after Randy’s concept plan application is submitted in October.
He noted that the application will include two or three review processes and neighboring property owners will be notified of such meetings.
Reviewing the project closely is important, Kern believes.
“It’s something I think would be worthwhile considering the level of investment, the potential of nuisance issues, and making sure, if it happens and moves forward, it benefits the community,” Kern said.
City Councilman Jason Franzen is looking forward to the potential the project offers.
“If it goes forward, succeeds, and works out as described, it will put Delano on the map,” Franzen said. “There are only two other locations, in Alabama and California. It’s intriguing to me. In lieu of the recent proposal from the EPA to lower emissions nationwide, this is something that dovetails well for the future prospect of lowering emissions.”
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the purchase of a new single-axle cab truck from Boyer Trucks Duluth-Superior for $85,744 and Towmaster truck equipment from the Minnesota Department of Transportation for $92,417 for the public works department. The total price of $178,161 came in below the $200,000 budgeted for the vehicle and equipment. The purchase will bring the number of trucks to four. Once a new dump truck is purchased in three years, the two oldest trucks will be retired.
• approved applying for a $35,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for 4th of July Celebration tax liabilities. The city had paid for $31,988 in tax liabilities in anticipation of the grant, and the 4th of July Celebration Committee paid the remaining $3,012. Management assistant Ashleigh Walter said the committee has not requested reimbursement, so that amount will be earmarked for future park projects. Kern said a tax bill is planned in the Minnesota legislature to exempt city festivals from being taxed, but, if that is not approved, the committee will budget for taxes in upcoming years.