Council hears garbage complaint

Mayor to organize cleanup of garage filled with 13 years worth of trash

A homeowner addressed the City Council of Webster City Monday night and asked for help with a trash problem at a neighbor’s property that she said was a health problem.

Kelly Akers, 117 Hamilton Road, said the property at 113 Hamilton Road had an accumulation of garbage stashed in the double garage on the property. She said the garbage had been accumulating since 2006.

She said she moved into her home in 2018 and at the time, the city inspector was able to clean up the yard and mow the property next door.

“But that was just the tip of the iceberg,” she told the council. “There’s 13 years of trash in the double car garage.”

Akers said last week, she called Hamilton County Public Health and the city inspections department because she had obtained permission from the homeowner to have the property and garage inspected.

“The health department told me no and the inspector told me no,” she said. “The health department told me that it wasn’t a health concern.”

Akers said she had seen feral cats, foxes, raccoons and rats all running through her property to get into the garage. She added that she has lost three dogs who had fallen ill with mysterious symptoms. The dogs had to be euthanized, including her service dog.

She told the council that the property next door also has a broken sewer line.

City Attorney Zach Chizek said the property at 113 Hamilton Road has twice been cited for municipal infractions.

The homeowner, Mark Olson, was also in attendance at the meeting.

“I’m responsible for this,” he said. Olson became emotional as he talked to the council

“I didn’t mean nothing,” he said. “I’m not going to stand here and make excuses. I don’t know how it happened, how it got out of hand.”

He said he had reached out to find help.

“I was asking people to help me and I got no answer,” he said.

Councilman Logan Welch assured Olson that help was available.

“I can see your frustration and I understand your emotion,” he said. “But I guarantee that our community can pull together to help you and your neighborhood.”

Olson said Akers had helped him a lot, and currently buys trash bags for him.

Mayor John Hawkins asked Olson if would allow someone into his garage to clean it out.

“Yes, that’s what I’ve been trying to get for a long time, but no one would help me,” he said.

“I can organize that for tomorrow,” Hawkins said. “I would like to take care of that tomorrow. I can get a garbage truck out there.”

Hawkins said the sewer leak would be a different matter and would require some research.

Olson thanked the council.

“I want to be part of the neighborhood, not somebody who destroys the neighborhood,” he said.

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