Silage owner gets more time, must post bond
A municipal judge last week gave the owner of a silage pile at the west end of Main St. a 30-day extension to remove the silage, but ordered him to post $30,000 bond.
Lincolnville feedlot owner Mike Beneke has skirmished with the city since he piled silage on his property in July. He was quickly notified by the city to remove the silage because it violated city codes, then notified to remove it alleging it was a health hazard. Beneke appeared in municipal court, where he was ordered to remove the pile within two weeks. He requested another hearing for a second extension.
At that hearing, municipal judge Randall Pankratz ultimately gave Beneke another 30 days, but ordered him to post the bond by Friday in case the city had to remove the silage itself. The judge also ruled that Beneke would have to reimburse the city for abatement costs exceeding $30,000.
“The judge made it clear to him that if he did not post the bond, he did not get the extension,” city administrator Roger Holter said.
Holter said Beneke admitted during the hearing that millions of flies would be attracted if the silage was disturbed at its current stage of fermentation.
Holter said city residents didn’t choose to live where they are subjected to rural odors.
“We anxiously await his abatement of the nuisance he created,” Holter said. “We are appreciative that the judge ordered a bond.”
Holter said the city estimated it would cost $98,000 to remove the silage using city equipment. The city contacted area silage cutters and they said they charge $6 per ton to remove the silage but had no interest in removing Beneke’s pile.
Beneke estimates moving the silage at this stage of fermentation will cause $20,000 to $25,000 damage to its $120,000 value.
Beneke also said both the city administrator and the mayor made false statements to the judge during both hearings, saying he had been instructed not to pile silage in town before he did so.
“They said I did even though I was told not to,” Beneke said. “That’s a flat-out lie.”
Beneke said he has a buyer for a portion of the silage.
Beneke arranged Friday to provide a $30,000 line-of-credit letter in lieu of a cash bond.
Beneke earlier had painted “4 sale” on windows of his building on the property, but now a sign reading, “Sold Sold” stands next to the driveway.
Last modified Sept. 19, 2018