After much discussion, the Prairie City City Council once again decided to continue banning the burning of yard waste in the city. In a 5-1 vote, the council approved amending the fire code ordinance to remove the yard waste item with councilman John Lee voting against.
The section of the code for yard waste included any debris such as leaves, garden waste, brush or trees. It did not include tree stumps or green yard waste. Burning of the yard waste was limited to April 15 through May 15 and Oct. 15 through Nov. 15 between the times of 10 a.m. until darkness or when the street lights turn on.
“It is a part of the code that was somewhat controversial. It had been vetoed by mayoral action at an earlier meeting,” city administrator Joe Bartello said. “I did include it on here so council would have all of the language we had presented to them to make the final decision on the draft.”
The reaction was immediate to the proposal of bringing back yard waste burning in the city. Councilman Troy Kuecker said he did not understand why anybody would want it.
“Why would we put yard waste in? Especially if we went with the dates suggested, of everyday somebody burning yard waste,” Kuecker said. “I worked in a city that had an open burn ban and it was ridiculous, you couldn’t even breath in there. Why would we do that to people who have asthma? I just don’t understand.”
Lee, who cast the single no vote, said allowing burning helps the older citizens in the community who might not be able to move the leaves to the proper disposal location.
“The idea put into it was the older people who can’t bend over and pick up the leaves and burn it and be done. It’s a good compromise for those who want to burn and those who don’t want burning,” Lee said. “Those times are not very much throughout the year and the time they have to burn is pretty narrow.”
Lee said there probably wouldn’t be very much burning in the spring months because, in general, there is not a lot to burn. The larger portion would be on leaf burning in the fall, which would have the restricted hours that reduce greatly as the sun goes down earlier in those months.
To help those who cannot address the yard waste at their homes, Kuecker suggested reaching out to the kids in town to help with the clean up.
The ordinance will have two addition readings before it is placed into code.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org