Wastewater, weeds top discussion at City Council’s town hall meeting

Residents ask about search for new city manager

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Anne Blankenship Brandon Hayes of TMI Services and Tile Pros talks to members of the city council about the letter he received at his business. The letter said that wastewater disposal by the local hauler would be discontinued.

The City Council of Webster City fielded questions on topics ranging from wastewater to weeds, from picnic tables to trash receptacles Monday night during its town hall session held at the Webster City Middle School.

Brandon Hayes of the Tile Pros and TMI Services asked the council members about a letter he had received following the last meeting of the council. At that meeting, the councilmen approved the first reading of a plan that would fine industries that dump more than they should into the city sanitary sewer system, as well as halt waste haulers, like Hayes, from dumping into the wastewater treatment plant.

“We’re included in this new ordinance that the council is working on,” he said. “We’re what they would call the waste haulers.”

Hayes said he had received a letter from Tim Danielson, wastewater plant superintendent, that effective immediately, would be banned.

“I guess we’re a little saddened that we’re going about this in this way,” he said, adding that the move will directly effect his business in a negative way. Hayes’ businesses rent portable toilets and also provides septic tank pumping services. He said his businesses had been dumping waste at the plant since 1995.

The council members said they were unaware that the letter was sent out before the final reading of the measure.

“It kind of feels like you went after the little guy on this,” Hayes told the councilmen.

Hayes said he would like to see the waste haulers removed from the proposed ordinance.

“We’re not saying that the concerns should be ignored, but as a business, we’d like to address those concerns as a partner,” Hayes said.

Shelby Kroona, administrator of Hamilton County Public Health, said her department is responsible for inspecting the pumper trucks. She said her department also audits Hayes records each year.

At the Aug. 20 council meeting, City Manager Daniel Ortiz- Hernandez said, “”Our wastewater treatment plant isn’t properly set up to manage waste taken to the plant,” Ortiz-Hernandez said. “It poses a significant liability for the city.”

Councilman Logan Welch echoed those remarks Monday night, saying the concern is that something would be introduced into the system that was “beyond our control.”

“If you can’t dump in Hamilton County, where would you have to go?” Welch asked Hayes.

Hayes said Fort Dodge, Ames, Des Moines or Mason City would be options, but would not be as cost effective as hauling to the local facility.

Welch urged Hayes to reach out to the city administration to work with them on the matter and encouraged him to attend the next council meeting on Sept. 4.

Citizens attending the meeting also voiced concern about weeds around the community.

Becky Kepler said the weeds growing near the edge of the overpass on the west side of town need to be addressed.

“Something needs to be done. You can’t see the caution rail,” she said.

Kepler also said that the city needs to look into cleaning out the storm sewer intakes around the city.

Gerald Huisman, who lives on Bicentennial Court, said the weeds along Edgewood Drive near the new housing development had grown quite tall. He asked if that issue could be addressed.

Connie Evans suggested that many of the picnic tables used in area parks could use some repair.

Mike Kroona asked if the city could place trash receptacles along the Brewer Creek Trail.

The council also told those present that the search for a new city manager is under way. Applications are being accepted through Sept. 15, according to Mayor John Hawkins. He said visits could happen in late October and that a new city manager could be in place around the first of the year.

The council adjourned the meeting just before 8 p.m.

The next regular session of the city council is set for Tuesday, Sept. 4.

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