Whether rain this past week will make a difference is unforeseen right now.
Drought conditions which have persisted at least up until the present have the Tama City Council in no hurry to lift the burn ban for fall leaves and yard waste disposal.
At Monday night's regular meeting council members tabled any decision until at least their Oct. 7 session.
Tama Fire Chief Paul Ellenbecker told council members he foresees a county-wide burning ban if dry the conditions persist much longer.
The city council put a city-wide burn ban in place year ago in September.
"Recommendations from both the police and fire departments call for (allowing burning) all at once," Mayor Dan Zimmerman said.
However, the ordinance does allow for periods to burn leaves and some garden waste in the spring and fall during specific periods to be determined by the council.
Last year, the council set for two separate periods for burning which proved "confusing" to some residents, Zimmerman said police and fire officials told him.
Yard waste along with tree limbs and brush can be deposited at the city disposal site south of Cherry Lake. A key to the gate to the area must be obtained from the City Clerk's Office at the Tama Civic Center during regular hours.
Yard waste can also be taken to the disposal site or placed in a roll-off / dumpster near the recycling bins at 5th and Harding, north of the Civic Center area.
Highway 63 Sidewalk
Mayor Zimmerman asked council members for their input on a recent Letter to the Editor in The Tama News-Herald from Noel Duffy calling for extending a sidewalk along the northern section of U.S. Highway 63 (State Street) near South Tama High School.
"Tama and Toledo would have to work together. if Tama does and Toledo doesn't, it's a waste of money," said council member Steve Baier. "The federal Safe routes to School spent $50,000 and nothing came out of it."
The Safe Routes to School study was conducted in 2009. There was a call or action last June by the Tama County Wellness Coalition after the group conducted a study in May, 2012.
Zimmerman also said he heard a suggestion for stoplights for a school crossing on U.S. 63 as were in place at 9th Street when the elementary school was located there. He said these would require approval from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The sidewalk issues appears to be complicated by the existing routes. In Toledo, the sidewalk extends to near the Tama city limits on the east side of U.S. Highway 63. In Tama, the sidewalk is on the west of the highway and ends at the south drive of the high school.
No Change in Water, Sewer Charges
It appears no change can be expected this year for Tama water rates and sewer service charges. A annual hike of two percent went into effect on July 1.
John Lloyd, Public Works director, presented findings of a study he has conducted measuring operational and maintenance costs against the amounts collected.
He showed projections of monthly flat rate increases for city water ranging from $5.43 down to $2.36 for all customers, residential or commercial. The charges would not be cumulative but rather fluctuate annually.
For sanitary sewer service, a flat rate hike from $1.58 to $1.92 monthly was also discussed.
Lloyd said the money would allow for continued operations and continue to build the reserve fund for both operations.
Council member Baier said he wanted to see the results of a sewer improvement project which will begin next month before considering any additional rate changes.
Mayor Zimmerman said "any rate increase will affect senior citizens." He said a gradual hike might be better if an increase is required.
In other business on Monday the council:
met with Marty Wymore, executive director of the Region 6 Planning commission. The council plans to apply for another housing improvement grant totaling about $300,000 for rehabilitation of up to 12 homes. Mayor Zimmerman and council member Kenny McAdoo will conduct a survey of homes in an area bounded by 13th Street on the north, State Street on the east, John and Washington streets on the west and the city limits on the south. A total of 15 applicants are need to submit a grant request. A total of 13 homes underwent revitalization under the last program in Tama.
approved a service contract with Snyder and Associates for the $600,000 Community development Block Grant the city has received for sewer improvements. The amount is to be matched by the city.
approved an agreement for final design services with Calhoun-Burns and Associates for the East 9th Street bridge replacement project at a cost of $38,825.
approved application by the Tama Fire Department for up to a $3,500 grant from the U.S. Forestry Service for firefighting equipment to be matched in city funding.
approved a beer sales permit for Jiffy South and a carryout for native wine permit for Casey's General Store.