Council again denies landfill wood permitPublished 11:48am Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Despite sharply worded comments from community members in favor of a new policy, the city council once again voted against Jay McDougall’s request to establish a permit policy to allow salvaging at the landfill, five votes to three.
McDougall is a wood artist, and when he started his business in Fergus Falls, he routinely took wood from the landfill without incident. Several years ago, however, he was asked to discontinue taking wood from the area. Concerns were raised about safety, insurance, extra work for landfill employees and fairness among others who might want to take things from the landfill.
McDougall asked the council to establish a specific system that would allow wood artists to purchase a permit that would allow them to take wood from the landfill for art purposes.
“This is a big deal,” McDougal said. “It’s my business. It’s my livelihood. It’s one of the reasons I live here, and it’s one of the reasons I do business here.”
The request offered a fail-safe, so that at any time, the public works director could terminate the permit system.
After opinions from both sides of the issue were heard from council members, community member Denise Mower addressed the board.
“Once again, I stand before you in disbelief that we as a community cannot operate in a way that is welcoming to people and business,” she said. “I just don’t get it.”
Like McDougall and some of the council members, Mower said she believed this was a business opportunity that city leaders should be supporting.
“We’re once again at the city level with regulations,” she said. “It’s like the government wants to regulate regulate regulate. Can’t you just give it a try and see what happens?”