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ERS contract voted down by landfill board


This news story was published on February 2, 2012.
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by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The North Iowa Landfill board voted down a long-term contract with Energy Recovery Specialists tonight.

Click here to view photos.

Due to the absence of several small-town representatives, the contract needed 30 votes to pass and only got 24. Just three members voted in favor of the deal: Mason City, Cerro Gordo County and Hanlontown. The vote is weighted, based on population. Mason City is the largest weighted vote, with 19 votes.

ERS had proposed a $35 million dollar trash to energy plant for Mason City’s south side.  Approval of a deal with the North Iowa Landfill was pivotal to their plant becoming a reality.

At this meeting, landfill attorney James Locher went through the contract with the board page by page. None of the Landfill Executive Board members favored the deal, and they explained why to the full board. Landfill Director Bill Rowland sent a letter to the board yesterday explaining why he did not support a contract agreement with ERS, citing a report from a consulting company which questioned the viability of ERS.

The public was allowed to ask questions, and those were answered by attorneys from both sides and the executive board.  Many supporters of ERS were present as well as many against the deal.  Both sides made solid points.  The board itself then asked questions and attempted to make sense of the contract.

In the end, the votes were not there to pass the deal.   More on this story coming.

Watch video:


Some reaction to the vote:



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36 Responses to ERS contract voted down by landfill board

  1. Avatar

    Hulda Bohall Reply Report comment

    February 15, 2012 at 2:46 am

    I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues? A small number of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

  2. Avatar

    Larry Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Wow Gail-great answer. You hit the nail right on the head It is nice to be informed.

  3. Avatar

    Gail Dierks Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 10:40 am

    People here keep commenting that Mason City failed to push this through and create jobs. It was not a vote of Mason City’s to make. It was a landfill of North Iowa vote. If you were working at the landfill you wouldn’t have wanted the project to pass either as vote for the plant was a vote for loss of jobs at the landfill. None of you posting here would have taken a job at the proposed plant, lets face that fact. To the person who posted that there is one of these plants downtown Minneapolis (Bill), there is not. There is not a plant like this in the country. There is the talk of one maybe being considered in Green Bay. This would have been the first of this kind. You can tell from the postings who kept informed and attended meetings. I had family at each meeting. Yarvorsky and CES or RES or whatever name they are going by now changed their stories one too many times. The landfill does not take in the amount of tonnage of garbage that CES first needed so then they changed their minds and said they could work with less. They said 50 jobs to start and when operational and automated would be cut to 20 or fewer. So no gains in employment would have been made. Again, Mason City people, this was not your council, EDC or people’s decision to make. It was the landfill of north Iowa and the council, minus Mason City, Hanlontown and Cerro Gordo County voted in the best interest of the landfill. These people fell pressure to and were puppets mastered by Mayor Bookmeyer, who I am sure drowned his sorrows at some local bar after CES left town. And the rep from Clear Lake was not obligated to vote with Mason City. If Mason City was worried about Clear Lake then they would have been in agreement and not given monetary incentive to Harley Davidson to stay at their current location versus moving closer to Clear Lake by the interstate where they likely would have received alot more business from passing bikers. Wake up Mason City, this was not your business to make or to lose. Tornquist even said at the board meeting held a month ago (or so) that basically everyone knew it was a business that could not succeed, but wanted it voted through anyway. To all you Mason City folks posting here, your time and efforts might be better served getting meaningful, honest and trustworthy residents to serve as your mayor and council members, not a mayor who removes someone (Pam M.) from a committee because he does not like what she is saying and then tells her that she can’t talk to certain people unless she has someone with her to know what she is saying. Your all right, this should be a wake up call for Mason City: get people to represent your city that people all over north Iowa aren’t laughing at, that mayor certainly can’t be the best Mason City has to offer? And Willert can’t be the best to represent EDC? If so, well then, Mason City, you are in trouble. Cudos to representatives from 21 other towns/counties that voted NO. And only three members voted yes. Jeers to Tornquist, Amonson and Micheals for falling prey to a fly by night organization that has been given the old heave hoe at many locations, not just here, and for being puppets of Mr. Mayor Drunkmeyer.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Can’t blame the landfill. They were asked to make a 10 to 20 year commitment without much financial data from those asking them to do it. This was yet another hair brained scheme brought forth by our craptastic city council. Somebody said the word jobs, and they jumped on it without looking at the data. Oh well, back to putting more taxpayer money into downtown Mason City which was destroyed by the city council’s decision to build Southbridge mall.

  5. Avatar

    token comment Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I also find it strange that the project has always projected 30 to 50 jobs but now in the bookmeyer gazette its 50 plus jobs. More bs from this company.

    • Avatar

      Bushpilot Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Where were all the people commenting on the Globe article when all this shady business was going down? I also noticed several comments made by people who dont live here. I do live here and in the 4th Ward. There was a public forum, in fact, several. The last planning and zoning meeting, to approve the CES / ERS conditions, there were two citizens. I find it curious that CES changed its name to ERS at the planning and zoning meeting! Like the dude at the Landfill board commented, you don’t buy a house in two weeks, and it sounds like the board didn’t even see the contract until just before the vote…SHADY! The Globe readers have no idea what their commenting about. Tony Nelson, CL Councilman, dosen’t do business for Mason City. The smaller towns, I’m sure, are wanting their piece of the pie! Mason City was trying to capitalize on the entire North Iowa community and the Landfill just happened to be the bottleneck.

    • Avatar

      Bushpilot Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Where were all the people commenting on the Globe article when all this shady business was going down? I also noticed several comments made by people who dont live here. I do live here and in the 4th Ward. There was a public forum, in fact, several. The last planning and zoning meeting, to approve the CES / ERS conditions, there were two citizens. The Globe readers have no idea what their commenting about. Tony Nelson, CL Councilman, dosen’t do business for Mason City. The smaller towns, I’m sure, are wanting their piece of the pie! Mason City was trying to capitalize on the entire North Iowa community and the Landfill just happened to be the bottleneck.

    • Avatar

      Bushpilot Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Two things come to mind. If Alliant energy was going to purchase this kind of resource, why wouldn’t they build something near their power plant West of Burchinal and directly South of the landfill. Transporting trash to the facility and transporting ash back to the landfill would not travel through populated areas. Burchinal and Cerro Gordo would get the benefit. These are the people you’re dealing with in Mason City. Realisticlly, based on all the changing stories I’ve heard from these wasted people is, the amount of gas and power produced is going back into the gasification process to burn. There is no burden placed on the energy grid, and nothing going into it either. It’s just a fancy name of a place that burns your trash.

  6. Avatar

    token comment Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Tonys vote maybe the one MC is blaming the rejection of the project on but I believe it was the not the main factor. Lack of consistent information, hurry up approach, city halls ram it through attitude, and tornquist nasty attitude at the first board meeting probably caused too much distrust of this project. I would like to think bookmeyer and staff would learn from this but I think this will only enrage his over inflated ego and cause even more secrecy on up coming projects.

  7. Avatar

    Peter Children Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:16 am

    To: X

    Your use of the word elite is your own interputation not mine.

  8. Avatar

    Peter Children Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:14 am

    To; X

    Be informed I am not against ANYONE coming in here and building such a facility as long as it is proven to be safe for the environment. If you are eluding to the fat man and those who serve under his boot, you are terribly wrong. I have always wanted what was best for this community no matter who may have brought it here.

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Anonymous Reply

    February 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I wonder if the people commenting on the greatness of this project would have been willing to work in a hot building sorting through rotting garbage, dirty dippers, animal waste, a mixed brew of liquid that would empty your stomach and all the other filth being disposed of. I mean we can’t get enough workers for good jobs. Serta is advertising for workers now.

  10. Avatar

    sandy Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2012 at 12:08 am

    This comment goes to X that commented on Peter’s post. I went to Rochester and saw how they used their garbage for fuel. I’m not against using garbage for fuel. What I am against is trying something that has to many red flags. X did you go to all the different meetings? The planning board, the public meeting, landfill meetings? If you did you had to hear the different answers to the same questions. They never told the same story twice first there was no emissions going in the air then at another meeting they say their would be. They needed 250 tons of garbage a day then they changed they only needed 90 to 130 when the landfill said they couldn’t give them the 250, they said at one meeting the hazards waste would be shipped to Utah then they say their won’t be any hazards waste so which is it? Way to many red flags and why was there such a rush to get this done. The landfill never got the contract until 7 when they got at the meeting. Would you buy a major purchase without first reading the fine print? I think the board did the only thing they could with the amount of time they had to work with.

  11. Avatar

    Farewell Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Oh Bill they do not..it is not even close what they have. You must be thinking an arena. Ooooh so many jobs lost. Dont think so. Hardly. Anyone can work if they want to. period

  12. Avatar

    Bill Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Minneapolis has the same thing down town and you can not smell a damm thing. It is clean air coming from it. What a shame on lot bring it in, they need to open there minds and job bring JOBS in here.

  13. Avatar

    Farewell Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    SCORE!!! Can’t always get what you want! Good minds and supporters thinking it through and came up with the absolute RIGHT answer! Breath free and clean MC!
    Jobless rate down. You can work if you really want to, it’s out there. Bookmeyer get frunk you will feel more like your self and no planning and plotting we will get you every time. Already have plenty of times. On tape too!

    • Avatar

      Kinkyh Reply Report comment

      February 4, 2012 at 8:46 am

      What is ‘get frunk’? I believe even ‘frunk’ bookbinder could express with more accuracy.

  14. Avatar

    Sandy Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I talked to several members on the board last night and they have a tremendous amount of respect for Bill and the executive board. I know this was not an easy decision for the landfill. I just want to say thank you for looking at and listening to both sides of the issue and doing what you felt what was best for the landfill. Like I said last night there is a lot of money to be made out of garbage and I say let our landfill look at ways to make energy into fuel. Rochester is doing it and I believe we can to.

    • Avatar

      Peter Children Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Sandy makes an excellent point; why can’t this city acquire the necessary equipment, build the building and run the operation themselves?

    • Avatar

      X Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      In another post Mr. Children asserts that the dangerous health ramifications were one of two reasons to not build the plant, the other being that the Mason City elite were defeated. And now he states here that Mason City should go ahead and build one themselves? I’d say the health aspect is not the source of his opposition at all, but more so the latter reason.

  15. Avatar

    Resident Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    This town is beging to be a joke. Or still is

  16. Avatar

    MC Resident Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Good point, Anonymous. I forget about the Target Distribution center. Not only does the distribution center employ enty level jobs, it also has employs professional positions.

    You would think a community such as MC would begin to wonder why they’re being passed up when they are ideally located to major interstates.

  17. Avatar

    anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Some community will get some jobs apparantly we don’t need the
    m here. Other businesses looking to expand will surely notice MC’s welcome wagon also and go some where else. The casino and Targets distribution center are examples of this.

  18. Avatar

    MC Resident Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Another lost oppportunity for MC. I hope this website follows the story ERS to see what community they land in. I’m sure the competing communities for this plant are laughing at MC for passing over these jobs.

    Same thing happened with the casino. MC was worried about the crime a casino would bring. Yeah, lots of crime there….not. The communities are thriving off of the revenue. Another lost economic opportunity.

    • Avatar

      Buzz Crumcutter Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Even if Cerro Gordo county had voted in favor of the gambling issue, that was no guarantee they would have been issued the rights to have a casino in the county.

      Where the casinos go is up to the Racing and Gaming Commission. Franklin County passed a gambling vote in their county only to be passed over for Worth County where the casino in now.

  19. Avatar

    Bushpilot Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Is it just me or is Mason City an ash pile to the North side (Lime Creek), and since that didn’t go so well, we’re gonna try some new stuff on the South side?

  20. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I AM SO SICK OF THIS CITY, WHY DONT THEY LET THE PEOPLE VOTE FOR S%(@ LIKE THIS???????????? WAKE THE fUK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Avatar

      Buzz Crumcutter Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      @ 7:22 AM —- We elect people (council members) to make decisions like this on our behalf and hopefully they listen to what we say. Granted, I may not always agree with what they do or how they vote, but its a pretty lame excuse some people make when they claim they don’t listen to us.

      Just because they don’t vote how I wanted them to, doesn’t mean that they weren’t listening to me. How many elections do you want to pay for??? If you want a vote then run for city council then and make some changes.

  21. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Get over yourself solberg. The comments directed your are self inflicted.

  22. Avatar

    comment Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:00 am

    It’s a guarantee the bookmeyer camp is busy plotting on how to revise this. His ego wont allow him to accept this decision. We see the same actions being taken with the proposed multipurpose center. Hurry hurry and force it in.
    I would bet the member from Clear Lake was being put under heavy pressure from MC and I greatly respect his decision. Not every one is a puppet.

  23. Avatar

    Peter Children Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 6:45 am

    The defeat of the CES proposal brings forth two messages; the first bearing evidence of what a united front can accomplish. To all who gave of their time and hard work to bring to the forefront the possibilities of dangerous health risks…your efforts were not without merit; thank you. The second lesson should resonate through City Hall that there are those who live here will not be pushed into something just because you want it. The general population here are not sheep, on the contrary they are conscientious hard working people who care about their children and neighbors.

    The concept of the process that was rejected I am told has upwards of 175 other developers offering the same or similar facilities, contact someone with operations that are up and running.

    • Avatar

      X Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Not just the dangerous physical health risks from burning/exhausting florescent light bulbs, tires, ammunitions, etc., but don’t forget the mental health aspect. I’ll sleep better at night, I know, with the peace of mind that no one is sorting through my garbage for sensitive items.

      Somehow I suspect the second lesson is more important to you than the first.

  24. Avatar

    X Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 6:36 am

    We certainly wouldn’t want there to be a double standard as to how the news is reported at this site. Matt, I assume you are going to ask some ‘tough questions’ of the landfill board members who were not present for such an important vote similar to yesterday when you referred to Solberg being more interested in her mailbox?

  25. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Thank you LNI board members for weighing all information and basing your decision off it. Hopefully city hall will learn a lesson on how not to promote a project. Keep all information above board. Don’t remove everyone that offers differing opinions. Never send an over inflated ego to try to tell existing board members how it’s going to be.
    Try HONESTY INTEGRITY and CLARITY. You might find how well it works.

  26. Avatar

    JOKE Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Oh BS NOT just for hockey our ASS. Solberg you just want it for your thang of hockey. NEVER will make it you freaks. You claim we are dying with no jobs yet we can support this kind of thing. Look around do really think the people here are going to make it fly? LOOK! If anything (really should just drop it)HAS TO GO TO VOTE!!!! Let the people say! That’s what you are for! Tornquist can you please go to school to learn how to talk! Who could listen to you for long about anything.Oh by the way…hahaha you alien bully! We won we won we won you didn’t !!! hahahaaa! Logic does work! Not bullying!

  27. Avatar

    Sherlock Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I was once told by a woman I was dating, Sometimes no means no, and sometimes no means try harder (said with a smile and a wink).

    No can mean different things to different people.

    There was the Bookmeyer, NO, NO, NO, comment at a ZBA meeting, there is an article here somewhere about it.

    The following ZBA meeting only one ZBA member voted no on CES. The one memeber to really listen to the Mayor-No, NO, NO.

    No, No, No, has special meaning to me. I try very hard to remember that 3 no’s make a GO. Or, I should say, 3 KNOWs make a GO. Let me explain. Three knows make a go when you know in your head it’s the right thing to do. When you know in your heart it’s the right thing to do. AND, when you know in your gut it’s the right thing to do.

    One voting member on the LNI board seemed deeply troubled on how to vote. The single vote that could have passed the contract acceptance. I want you to KNOW Tony, you’re my hero. I can see it was a hard decision for you. You may be second guesing yourself even now. You may take some flack for voting your KNOWs. Tony, you have my respect!

    Thank you everyone for voting your KNOWs. Thank you MR MAYOR for reminding us all to vote our KNOWs. Yes, sometimes no means no, and sometimes…..no means try harder.