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Council hears comments from local residents

July 2, 2019

Two local citizens spoke to the Webster City City Council Monday night about several topics during the public information section of the meeting.

Bob Shultz, a member of the Webster City Daycare Board of Directors, asked if he could be placed on the agenda for a future meeting. He said he wanted to visit with the council to discuss options for refinancing or restructuring the center’s loan held by the city. He was told the matter could be placed on the agenda in two weeks.

Paul Dahl approached the council with three concerns. He asked if the city would consider when cutting down trees, to replace the tree with two new plantings. He also asked if the city could have the county’s GIS director work on the addresses for the city, which he said were confusing for newcomers and those unfamiliar with the city.

On a more serious note, Dahl said he was called to city hall on Friday to meet with Kent Harfst, acting city manager and Police Chief Shiloh Mork.

“I was read a letter from Kent that said I was banned from the pool and also Fuller Hall because of inappropriate acts,” he said. “I’m still uncertain what I did. But I’m banned. If I show up on the property, the police will be called and I will be taken off the property.”

He said he felt the city should have a review process when something like this happens.

“I still don’t know what I did and I probably will never find out what I did to justify this treatment,” Dahl said.

“The decision was made and I was never part of the process,” he added.

“You must have had some idea, because you were part of the process, because you were affected,” said Mayor John Hawkins.

“Were there any criminal charges?” asked Councilman Logan Welch.

“No. Not unless I step back on the property,” Dahl said.

Harfst, who also serves as director of parks and recreation, said he wouldn’t go into details about the decision.

“But as Park and Rec Director, my concern is the safety and well-being of both people who use Fuller Hall and the outdoor pool as well as the safety of our staff,”Harfst said. He added that the comments that were made by Dahl were “very inappropriate and made the staff members uncomfortable. Some of them were minors, some were 18 or older.”

“I stand behind the actions of the park and rec director and acting city manager,”said Welch.

Councilman Brian Miller said the council could possibly consider a review process for such incidents sometime in the future.

“Well, I will tell you, this is a lifetime ban. As long as I live here, I can’t be on the property,” Dahl said. “If I’m here another 35 years, I can’t go on the property.

“So, I take it everyone’s OK with a lifetime ban as long as I live here?” Dahl asked the council.

Hawkins reminded Dahl that the public comments section of the council meetings are for questions and comments. The council typically does not take action but may review and research the matter for future discussion.

Fire training

The City Council approved the use of Webster City property for an upcoming fire department training session in September.

The fire department requested the use of city property at the intersection of Closz Drive and Millards Lane for the training with Black Hills Energy on Sept. 19 from 5 to 10 p.m. The intersection will also be closed to traffic for the event.

Michael Wright of Black Hills Energy explained that his company does two trainings a year with fire departments.

“This year we’d like to do that in Webster City,” he said. “This really stemmed from the natural gas fire at the county shed in December.”

He said there were comments from the fire department that few of the firefighters were experienced in battling natural gas fires.

“We thought this would be a good opportunity to partner up with the fire department,” Wright said.

The council also approved a request for from the fire department for the closing of Seneca and Bank streets for the National Night Out planned for Aug. 6. This is the second year for the event which will be held in West Twin Park.

A fireworks permit for Van Diest Supply Company for July 3 was approved. The company will present a fireworks display for the community at 10 p.m. Wednesday night at the Webster City High School. The high school band will perform patriotic music from 9 to 10 p.m. that night.

Public hearing on the vacation and disposal of .12 acres north of 1539 Second St. The owners wish to sell the property.

Planning Director Karla Wetzler said, “On the Third Street right-of-way there is part of the building, constructed in 1951. In order to make the sale feasible, we need to let that part of the building go with the rest of the building.”

The matter was sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission which approved the vacation and disposal of property, provided a permanent easement is retained for the .12 acres as there are utilities there. Wetzler said she had received the easement documentation.

The council members approved the first reading of the vacation of the property. The vote on the disposal of the property was deferred until the July 15 meeting.


View this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.

Last modified: July 2, 2019

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