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Charles City Council takes first step in limiting outside access to Shaw Avenue dump site

By Bob Steenson, bsteenson@charlescitypress.com

The Charles City Council took the first step Monday evening in putting some teeth into a rule that only city residents can dump yard waste at the Shaw Avenue Tree Dump.

Council members and staff had discussed previously that people from outside Charles City — including commercial tree-trimming services from out of the county — had been dumping grass clippings and tree branches at the site.

“It’s designed for in-town use for the citizens of Charles City, and we really don’t have any type of authority to tell those from outside the city limits they can’t dump there,” said City Administrator Steve Diers, about why a law is needed.

“This would then give the city and the Police Department the ability to stop some of these semi loads that we have coming in full of brush,” he said.

The council passed the first reading of a new ordinance at its regular meeting Monday, which would make it a city code violation for anyone to dump yard waste at the site that had not originated or been produced within the corporate limits of the city.

It would also make it a code violation for anyone, including city residents, to dump anything other than yard waste at the site, including garbage, paper, construction materials, stumps, rocks, animal waste and anything else that does not fall within the ordinance’s definition of yard waste.

City Attorney Brad Sloter said violations can be charged as a simple misdemeanor or a municipal infraction. The penalty for a municipal infraction first offense could be up to $750, and the penalty for a second offense could be up to $1,000.

Diers said the site was established for the convenience of city residents, and was costing about $24,000 a year to grind up waste, but in the fiscal year that just ended June 30 the cost had risen to $31,200.

While the ordinance limits who can deposit items at the Shaw Avenue site, it allows anyone from within Floyd County to remove material from the site.

“We don’t necessarily have a problem with people taking wood chips and mulch out if they’re not from the city limits, so we’ve put that in the ordinance,” Diers said.

The law will become effective after its third reading and passage and publication.

Also at the meeting Monday, the council:

• Approved a proclamation making Saturday, July 11, Ironman Battalion Day, in recognition of the men and women serving in the 133d Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, who are getting ready for a year-long deployment in the Middle East as part of Operation Spartan Shield.

• Approved 3% pay increases for City Administrator Diers and City Clerk Trudy O’Donnell after holding closed session annual reviews for both of them. Diers’ new salary will be $119,961 and O’Donnell’s will be $70,182.

• Approved 3% pay increases for non-union city employees, with the additions that Police Chief Hugh Anderson will get an additional $2,000 and police command officers Capt. Brandon Franke, Lt. Casey Mallory and Lt. Bradley Worrall will receive an additional 75 cents per hour.

Diers said the extra pay for Anderson recognizes that he is the city public safety director as well as police chief, meaning he oversees the code enforcement office and Fire Department as well as the Police Department, and the extra pay for command officers is so their pay remains above police officers who have reached the highest step on the pay scale.

The council also approved a 3% pay increase plus an additional $4,000 for Dan Rimrod, waste water superintendent, because, Diers said, his pay is “on the low end” for someone with Grade 4 certification, which is the highest certification level available and which will be required to operate the new city Water Resource Recovery Facility when it is completed.

• Approved a change order for the 2020 hot mix asphalt paving project to replace storm sewer on Clinton Avenue from 9th Street to 6th Street. The repair will be made by installing a high density polyethylene pipe within the existing storm sewer casing, at a cost of $137,500.

• Heard a report from Diers that the city is working with developer Crown Point Builders of Garner to possibly finish the remaining lots in the Parkside Villa residential development on the site of the former Jefferson Elementary School.

The project began with a Community Development Block Grant that helped with the down payment to purchase the energy-efficient homes, but since that grant money has run out developers have had a problem building the homes at a price where they were affordable, Diers said.

Crown Point is requesting a 10-year property tax rebate on the improved value of the lots and newly constructed homes, which would require the city to establish a tax-increment financing (TIF) zone there, Diers said.

A representative of Crown Point is expected to be at the council workshop on July 15.

• Appointed Tad Barry to the Charles City Broadband Commission, to take the place of a member who was appointed to the Charles City Telecommunications Utility board of trustees.

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