Green Photon pulls its offer

TRUMAN – Attempts by Green Photon Power to seek a partnership with the Prairieland waste facility came to an end Friday.

Bob and Daniel Weerts attended a Prairieland board meeting to propose working with the facility to make plastics. But questions about the legality of the arrangement were brought up, since Prairieland is a public entity and not a private business.

“Because it is a public entity, it may need to be open to other company proposals,” said Prairieland attorney Kevin Johnson. “Otherwise you could get sued.”

Part of the firm’s interest in Prairieland was because Martin and Faribault County have a waste designation ordinance that orders waste haulers to bring garbage to the site. The Supreme Court ruled that such an ordinance is only viable when a facility is publicly owned and operated.

While some board members were open to pushing Prairieland into private control, others balked.

“We’ve bungled this all these years,” said Faribault County Commissioner Tom Loveall. “I’ve said that from day one. Now is the time to do something different.”

“I think it’s unfair for the board to go out for proposals,” countered Martin County Commissioner Steve Pierce. “We just had a change of management; we’ve made the switch over to RDF. We haven’t even given them a chance.”

“I’m afraid we’re opening up another can of worms with this,” added Martin County Commissioner Steve Flohrs. “We have made this change, and by doing this, we’re giving public acknowledgment that we’re looking for other means.”

There were motions made on having Johnson meet with Green Photon’s attorney to discuss what the two entities could do together, but Weerts instead decided to withdraw his proposal.

“I’m not going to play the game,” he said. “I already spent 20-some thousand dollars on this. I’m not going to chase bad money with good money.”

Prior to leaving, Weerts went so far as to collect copies of a plan he had passed out to board members and meeting attendees.

After some heated discussion, a motion was made for Johnson to research the legalities of entering into a partnership with a private company. The vote passed 5-3, with Pierce, Flohrs and Faribault County Commissioner Tom Warmka dissenting.

In other Prairieland business, the board signed a letter of intent to talk to Truman Public Utilities about putting a generator into operation at Prairieland.

“This is huge, because if the generator is on, it will reduce the peak periods for the city,” explained Prairieland director Billeye Rabbe. “It’s not to run the plant all of the time, but it will reduce the peaks.”