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Witness Testimony of Jon Martin, Solid Waste Administrator, Fillmore County

Good afternoon.  Thank you for inviting me to speak to you on the importance of a veteran’s cemetery in Fillmore County and to give yousome background on the land that Fillmore County is in the process of donating for this purpose.

Let me start by expressing my desire for this cemetery to become a reality in the very near future.  This is an asset that is needed for the veterans in the southeast corner of Minnesota and also the veterans in Iowa and Wisconsin.  With the travel time to either Minneapolis or Little Falls, the time it takes to register and walk to the grave site and then pay your respects, it may take most of the day.  This process can be very exhausting and may be a cause for them not visiting as much as they would like.

Now some basic information on me.  I started With Fillmore County in January of 1996 as a Transfer Station Attendant and held that job for a little over two years. In 1998, I was appointed to my present position of Solid Waste Administrator/Resource Recovery Center Manager by the Fillmore County Board of Commissioners.

Over the course of my employment with Fillmore County, I have been involved with the land called the Fillmore County Farm.  This is a piece of property that had a couple of old farmsteads on it that were combined into one parcel.  This property was purchased by Fillmore County to build a transfer station when the only solid waste landfill in the county closed.  Over the course of years, a building was built to house the Source Separated Composting Facility and the Recycling Center.  Later on, a new building was built with state grant money to allow the composting operation to be moved under cover and produce a better finished material.  A Household Hazardous Waste building was added to allow for the collection, sorting, packaging and shipping of hazardous waste to a licensed shipper for proper disposal.  Composting was discontinued in year 2000 due to a number of reasons, and the recycling center was changed to a single stream collection system where recyclables are shipped out for processing and marketing.  The recycling center and the composting building have now been repurposed for use by the Fillmore County Highway Department for a maintenance shop and a sand and salt shed.

Fillmore County was involved in a program in the early 1990’s that required the planting of trees on some of the farmland.  Fillmore County planted a mix of red and white pines and some walnut trees.  These areas have now grown into beautiful spots to walk through and area haven for all kinds of wildlife.

Speaking of wildlife, Fillmore County allowed hunting on the farm up until last year.  With the cemetery moving forward and the need for soil borings, the artifact discovery process, wetland surveying, and the need for people to be there doing their jobs, Fillmore County decided to close the farm to hunting.  Many, many people used the farm for hunting.  Some drove a long way because there was not land available for them to hunt on near home.  Every fall, I would have a list of 30-40 people that would ask to hunt there. Everyone was supposed to ask permission to hunt and were given a list of rules to follow.  This worked out well for the most part.  When Fillmore County decided to close the farm to hunting, very few people were upset when I told them the reason for closing it was to facilitate the process of getting a veteran’s cemetery here.

In closing, I would like to reinforce to you the support that I have received by hunters that used the farm, hikers that enjoyed walks through it, people that use the transfer station and the recycling facility, fishermen and boaters that use the river, and the many people and veterans that I talk to on a daily basis that want to make this veteran’s cemetery a reality in Fillmore County.

Thank you for your time and your consideration for this project.

Do you have any questions for me?