News & Notes from Dysart City Council

The regular April meeting of the Dysart City Council held on Wednesday, April 13, began with public comments from rural Clutier resident Chris Behrens. Behrens addressed members of the council and Mayor Tim Glenn regarding a public forum set for the following week on Tuesday, April 19, at the local middle school. Behrens was representing the citizen group Tama County Against Turbines which formed in opposition to Apex Clean Energy’s Winding Stairs Wind project currently in development in and around Dysart, Buckingham, Clutier, Elberon, and Traer. “We formed a group in opposition for a lot of different reasons,” Behrens said. “We’re not necessarily against green energy … [but] most people are against living inside of an industrial wind farm.” Behrens told the council the “farmers around Dysart have really held strong” in their opposition to the wind energy project and few if any easements have been made by landowners with Apex in the rural Dysart area. Behrens encouraged members of the council and the mayor to attend. Later in the meeting, as part of the mayor’s report, Glenn commented on the public forum. “I think that it’s really important for as many of us to attend [the forum],” Glenn said to his fellow council members. “[Apex] make[s] [the project] sound pretty good, whether or not we want to look at a bunch of turbines on our side of the county … I don’t know if we really want that around here.”

City park request for circus

Kevin Lassen with the Dysart Lion’s Club approached the council about bringing the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus to town this summer. This would be the third time for the event sponsored by the Lion’s Club. Lassen said there would be two shows on August 24, at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. He asked for use of the baseball outfield portion of the city park for the event. The mayor commented he felt the park was again a great place to hold the circus. The council unanimously passed a motion to allow use of Dysart City Park’s outfield for the event.

Personnel update

As part of the consent agenda which passed, Mike Wieben was approved as a new driver for the Dysart Ambulance Service. The service has been struggling tremendously like all area ambulance services to find volunteers.

Under old business, an update was given on summer hirings for the aquatic center. Peg Hennings was approved by the council as aquatic center manager with a $13 per hour wage. Wages for the rest of the aquatic center staff as well as the fees for swimming lessons were also approved by the council. In an effort to not lose staff this summer amid a statewide workforce shortage and in light of a new water park being built in Waterloo, the council gave a $0.25 per hour raise to the lifeguards.

The council also approved the hiring of Lindsay Pipho as the summer recreation director for 2022. Pipho was the only applicant for the position.

A vacation carryover request was made by Dysart Police Chief Joe Hols under new business. Hols was in attendance at the meeting and told the council with the recent hiring of Officer Jeremy Stenda – giving the department three full time officers – he would be trying to use his vacation this year. Without permission from the council, city employees are only allowed to carry over 40 hours of vacation from year-to-year. Hols said he currently has about 51.1 hours. The request was approved.

Tree removal bids

Also under new business, tree removal bids for the five ash trees in the city park were opened and read aloud by the mayor. Two bids were received for the removal which also includes stump grinding and checking for Emerald ash borer. A bid from Greenworx Tree Service based in Dysart was received for $6,000. A bid from Hatch Grading & Contracting also based in Dysart was received for the same amount, $6,000. Following discussion among the council members regarding both companies’ good reputations as well as each of the companies’ history of doing business with the city – Hatch has done quite a bit of work for the city in addition to receiving TIF rebate funds for the Westview Estates housing development – a motion was made and passed to contract with Greenworx Tree Service for the tree removal.