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Toledo Council takes aim at nuisance properties

Warn Swimming Pools Have Fence Requirements

July 17, 2013
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Properties considered to be nuisances in Toledo were up before the city council during their regular meeting on Monday, July 8.

Council members expressed frustration their earlier efforts aimed at a pair of properties - one commercial, the second residential - had not resulted in action.

City Attorney Nancy Burk said complaints ranged from "eyesores to varmints."

A house at 504 South Church identified as owned or being purchased by Joe Lux, Toledo, and a commercial lot in the 100 block of Business Highway 30 East were of primary concern.

Council members decided Lux would be given one more opportunity to deliver on a plan or "the city will act." The council set a July 22 deadline on it.

The commercial property, listed as owned by RVC or Ron VanDyk in the Tama County Assessor's records, houses several semi trailers. Council members, on a 5-0 voice vote, declared it a nuisance and directed proceedings to begin.

Toledo Police were directed to pay a courtesy visit to the owners of a residence in the 400 block of East Vine to encourage a clean up of their property.

On the advice of City Attorney Burk, a residence in the 100 block of East State Street will not be subject to action because the items stored are considered "inside" because there is a roof over them.

Police were also directed to contact owners of outdoor residential swimming pools which are not fenced and inform them of this requirement. Pools in Toledo at a height of 24 inches or more must be fenced in according to city ordinance.

Police were directed to advise owners of swimming pools at residences on East High and South Main streets of the requirement.

Wastewater Requirement

Mark Zmolek, public works director, told council members a recent inspection by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources of the city waste water treatment plant found fault with the present method of sludge disposal.

He said sludge, which is "dewatered" in a press, is currently hauled to the Tama County Landfill for disposal. The landfill fee runs $1,500 - $2,000 monthly to accept the sludge, Zmolek said.

To meet DNR requirements, the sludge must instead be either used as a cover material at the landfill or provided in some arrangement to farmers for use in fields.

Zmolek said retaining the sludge at the plant site would best be done by storing it in a "hoop building" similar to the winter street salt facility at the Public works Building. He said it made little sense to press the liquid out and then have it exposed to rain by storing it in the elements.

He was directed to obtain a cost idea for such a storage facility. He said the location of such a building must address possible concerns about the adjacent South Tama Recreation Trail and the nearby Arrowhead Mobile Home Court. Zmolek is to obtain information from the City of Anamosa which has this type of system in place.

In other business the council:

learned City Clerk Julie Wilkerson would attend a July 11 meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Marshall County to represent Toledo in an effort to obtain any disaster funds available to aid the city's flood recovery efforts. President Obama declared Tama and 45 other Iowa counties disaster areas as the result of May and June flooding.

heard a report from Yvonne Mallory, District 6 Iowa Valley Community College District director, on the success of the Stoplight Festival parade sponsored by Marshalltown Community College. She said the parade featured 43 entries. She said the goal of IVCCD is to become more involved in other communities it serves in addition to the three cities where colleges are located. She said the parade was the idea of MCC intern Nathan Davis and Toledo City Council Member Travis Mullen. Mullen is also a co-chair and co-founder of the Stoplight Festival.

tabled a decision on whether to place on the November city ballot a proposal to raise the hotel-motel tax from five to seven percent. Mullen said he wanted motel owners to be invited to the next council meeting to hear their opinions. City Attorney Burk cautioned if the measure is placed on the ballot it should be worded in such a way to avoid the elimination of the current five percent tax if the measure did not pass.

heard a report from Mullen on a proposal to redesign and equip the city disc (frisbee) golf course at the Toledo City Park which would cost $10,042 in a bid received from Gateway Disc Sports, Maryland Heights, Mo. Mullen said an effort to form a group to solicit donations for the project was unsuccessful.

discussed ordering new city uniforms to comply with updated safety requirements. Zmolek was directed to check further with Ultimate Image in Toledo concerning availability of shirts which meet standards.

approved advertising for sale a 1997 Ford pickup.

new Toledo Police Officer Dereck Fangman was sworn in by Mayor Dave Svoboda.

reviewed building permits issued to:

Larry Fletcher, 303 East vine, garage extension $12,500

Shirley Taylor, 200 N. Center, deck and roof over front door $3,000



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