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No landfills in Otter Tail County by 2046?

That's the direction the county wants to go. A public hearing on the plan has been set for Dec. 1.

Imagine it's the year 2046.

In Otter Tail County, there are no landfills.

Food waste is turned into compost, and what waste is left produces energy for the county.

Lakes, rivers and open spaces are protected, the county's solid waste services are available no matter where you live, and the new solid waste system's costs are reasonable.

Those are the guiding principles of the county's proposed 25-year Solid Waste Plan, designed to steer the future of how residents dispose of their garbage -- or, in some cases, don't create the garbage at all.

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These details aren't set in stone, but its principles "provide a north arrow,” consultant Nate Klett told Otter Tail County commissioners at their Nov. 9 meeting.

A public hearing for the master plan has been set for Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Government Services Center. Those without internet access can get a copy from the county recycling center at 1115 N. Tower Road in Fergus Falls, or view it online on the county's website .

Those watching the commission meeting on the Otter Tail County YouTube channel may have had some trouble hearing, as the county's new audio system didn't pick up all voices. In particular, Commission Chair Lee Rogness and Commissioner Betty Murphy were generally not able to be heard, while other voices, such as Commissioner Wayne Johnson's, came through loud and clear.

However, the county is not required by Minnesota's open meetings law to ensure that those following the proceedings remotely are able to hear everything, said Mark Anfinson, an attorney who specializes in media law. They are only required to allow in-person access. The only time they need to ensure good remote access is if one of the commissioners is attending remotely or if the public can't have public access to the meeting because of the pandemic.

"If a public body allows normal physical public access to its meetings and all members of the public body are participating in person, then the Open Meeting Law doesn’t require any particular level of remote functionality—good, bad, or mediocre," Anfinson said.

Commissioners took a break to tweak the system, with marginal improvements.

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