RED WING -- On Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, the City Council voted to begin the bidding process to close the city's ash landfill.

While nothing has been put into the landfill since the end of 2018, it is not closed. To be officially closed it will be covered with a membrane and will not be used again.

"We have to do some cleaning up of the site and then the contractor comes in and puts fill on it and covers it," Public Works Director Rick Moskwa said.

His department estimates that the closing will cost $750,000 or more.

The city went through the bidding process in 2019 but, according to Moskwa, the request for bids was put out too late in the season, resulting in cost estimates that were much higher than the city planned.

The landfill closing is a project that the city and Goodue County are working on together.

While Red Wing is looking for bids, Goodhue County is talking to haulers about contracts as the new solid waste plan will require all garbage be brought to Red Wing for processing. After a designated three months of discussion, the county will send its solid waste plan to the state.

In 2019 a haulers agreement was written and the plan was sent to the state. However, Greg Isakson, the Goodhue County Public Works director, discovered that a clerical error and information about a public hearing on the topic ran in local papers only once. Legally, the information must run in two editions before the process begins to inform the public about the public hearing.

“They say government works slow, this is really slow,” Moskwa said.

With all of the delays Moskwa hesitantly predicts that the process of getting the landfill closed and into the Minnesota Closed Landfill Program will conclude in late summer -- assuming that a majority of the County Board votes to approve the plan.

"I've been waiting a long time for this, a very long time," City Council President Dean Hove stressed.

The process to begin bidding passed 4-0; three council members were absent on Monday.