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County board approves bonds for Perham refuse project

Otter Tail County and four neighboring counties own the refuse burner in Perham. Tom Hintgen/Otter tail County Correspondent.

The Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Joint Powers Board, which includes representative from Otter Tail County and four neighboring counties, will acquire and install an evaporator and complete related improvements at the refuse burner in Perham.

The project will be financed through debt obligations issued by Otter Tail County. Terms include up to $1.1 million of general obligation bonds to be issued by Otter Tail County to finance the project.

In essence, the project involves installation of a superheater that will provide for better steam output for sales to two industrial customers in Perham, Tuffy's Pet Foods and Bongards' Creameries, a cheese producer.

Tubing malfunctions contributed to the need for installing a new superheater at the facility in Perham which is owned by the counties of Otter Tail, Becker, Clay, Todd and Wadena.

Otter Tail County, which has 39 percent ownership of the refuse burner and is the fiscal agent for the five counties, contracted with Ehlers to provide comprehensive bond issuance services for the project in Perham.

A representative of Ehlers told county board members on Feb. 6 that Otter Tail County is in "a very strong debt and contingent liability position" with a AA rating since 2014.

Awarding of the bid for the superheater installation will take place at the county board meeting on Feb. 27. This will follow a competitive sales process.

A 10-year repayment period will be established related to the $1.1 million bond issue.

There are two burners, two waste heat boilers and an auxiliary boiler at the facility in Perham. An expansion several months ago included the addition of a waste heat boiler as well as a facility to help separate out recyclable items.