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Tama Council continues to mull a yard waste burning ban

Country Club Trees Pose Possible Hurdle

August 24, 2012
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

"We're the only business in town with between 200 and 300 trees. It's not feasible for us to continually haul that much waste away from the golf course," Chris Eickhoff, head grounds keeper for the Tama-Toledo Country Club. told the Tama City Council at their regular meeting Monday night, Aug. 20.

"It would turn two days of work into a two week job," Eickhoff told the council if his crew had to haul the tree trimmings from the golf course located along the western city limits to the burn pile.

"We trim the trees year-around with a pole saw," Eickhoff said resulting in "five or six large burn piles every year." The resulting limbs and brush are burned in piles formed near the South Tama Recreation Trail which borders the course on the west

The council heard the second reading of an ordinance aimed at controlling burning of trees, limbs and other yard waste within the Tama city limits. Tama police brought the issue to the council in June. This was after being caught in what police said was being in the middle of disputes between neighbors over burning and the resulting smoke and odor.

As part of the proposed revisal of the current city statute, burning of all trees and limbs could only take place at the city burn pile located south of Cherry Lake on the city's far southwestern corner. Burning of grass would be prohibited.

Leaves could only be burned on occasions when the council approved special periods in the spring and fall under the proposal.

Eickhoff said one solution might be issuance of a permit by the city to allow the Country Club to continue to burn on its own property.

Council member Steve Baier said he could foresee private property owners complaining if the Country Club were allowed to burn on its property and they were not.

Discussion centered on modifying the ordinance in some way to permit large properties or properties with many trees to burn on site.

Council members did approve the second reading of the burn ban ordinance on a 4-0 vote with members Kenny McAdoo, Crystal Kaufman, Mike Carnahan and Baier voting in favor. Member Robert Tyynismaa was absent.

The approval sets the stage for the third and final reading on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at which time further modifications may be introduced.

The ordinance as written does not prohibit recreational fires such as fire pits and fire rings.

Burning of garbage has been illegal in Tama for some time.

Water Superintendent, Police Officer Hired

Councilmembers approved hiring Kent Campbell, rural Toledo, for the water superintendent position left vacant by the resignation of water department employee Roger Bennett on June 26.

Campbell has Grade 2 Water and Grade 3 Water Distribution certification. He will seek waste water certification.

Barnett Curry, a native of Algona, was hired as a full-time police officer on the five-member force.

He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, with a B.A. in Criminology. Because he has a four-year degree, Barnett will only be required to take the eight-week police academy schooling, Police Detective Kimberly Schwartz told the council. Barnett fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Detective John Carr on June 27.

In other business the council:

reviewed guidelines for the incentive of the waiver of six months of city water billings for new businesses. the new owner of the Town Pump had requested a waiver according to City Clerk Judy Welch. Council members said they would define the intent of the incentive at the Sept. 4 meeting.

asked for a report from other cities who may have had a Downtown Assessment Visit by the Iowa Northland Council of Governments. The two-day look and evaluation of a downtown costs $2,500. it provides recommendations focused on downtown areas which it says "can be realistically implemented within a year or two." The program was brought to the city's attention by Tama County Economic Development Director Heath Kellogg. In an email to Mayor Dan Zimmerman, Kellogg said the evaluation was an alternative to the Main Street Iowa program which costs $60,000-$70,000 a year to "ramp up" over three years.

approved a $50,000 downtown revitalization loan at 2.5 percent annually for 10 years for Ed and Gloria Hardon for property they plan to purchase at 122 and 124 West 3rd St. The loans have been in place for a number of years to encourage business development. The loan is subject to completion of the transaction before the funds are transferred.

approved payment to Alliant energy for installation of a street light east of the King Tower Cafe along Business Route 30.

approved an industrial waste water treatment rate amendment raising the charges and providing for a built-in two percent annual rate hike.

approved a Community Development Block Grant application for housing rehabilitation for a home at 409 Garfield owned by Patrice DeLaTorre for $24,415.

received a report from City Attorney Dan Rathjen on voluntary and involuntary annexation. Mayor Zimmerman and the council asked for the information in an effort to improve the site of a former truck stop at the city's east edge which is outside the city limits and located at the U.S. 30 Expressway on-off ramp.

set the next regular council meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 4 because the regular date of Sept. 3 is Labor Day.



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