The Polk County Transfer Station located at 320 Ingersoll Avenue in Crookston will be seeing an improvement by the fall of 2021. The biggest component of the project will be improving the compost receiving area.

Polk County Environmental Services Administrator Jon Steiner said there are multiple little projects they are working on that are not a part of the big construction project, which was replacing the old transfer station. “We have several little projects that weren’t a part of that big project,” said Steiner. “We lumped those together, with the major component of that being the compost receiving area for the public.”

They had recently been dumping on a concrete pad that had been holding up well, but a change was needed to the area with the construction of the new building. “The footprint changed a little bit, and we ended up not being able to use that anymore,” said Steiner. “We created a temporary pad to operate off of, and when the project went long, it pushed everything back and delayed doing something more permanent with the area.”

The project is to construct an area to fix for the public use. The current area is sinking and could not be completed last year as they ran out of time before the ground froze. There was also concern from the board regarding the pandemic and if they should’ve moved forward with the project at that time.

Steiner updated where the project is currently at now that its’ been pushed back to this year. “Because of the dollar amounts involved in that project as well as the other projects, we bid it two ways,” said Steiner. “The formal bid process requires notifications and everything that delays the process, but the board did accept the base bid at the last meeting to do the compost pad as well as the other components that go with that project,” said Steiner.

According to Steiner, the amount on the bid came back significantly higher than what was anticipated or hoped for. Four bids came in for the project, and the hope was for the amount to be around $320,000. The lowest bid that came in was at $459,000, and the highest that came in was just over $625,000. Steiner explained a little bit why the bids came back at such a higher rate than expected from last fall. “We’re looking at a 30-40% increase over the estimate from last fall,” said Steiner. “A lot of that is just materials and the scarcity of laborers as well as drivers. These are the fallouts that we see from the pandemic.”

The county took the lowest bid of $459,000 from RJ Zavoral & Sons out of East Grand Forks. Although they wanted to be around $320,000 on the bid, Steiner expected to pay more. “Definitely wanted to be around the initial estimate, but we knew we would pay a little more because we were going into a new year, and right now, as every business owner knows, you can’t find people to work, and that’s driving the costs up,” said Steiner.  

The contracts are currently being worked on and put in place. There is no firm timeline without them set yet, but the project will be complete sometime in late summer or early fall.