Boyer bids farewell to council
The Fairfield City Council said “goodbye” Monday to councilor Connie Boyer, whose term expires at the end of the year.
Boyer is completing the last two years of former councilor Myron Gookin’s four-year term. Gookin stepped down in the middle of his term after being appointed a district court judge.
Boyer’s most recent stint on the council was the second of her career. In 2003, she replaced Tom Stanley and served through 2007. She said her main motivation for becoming a councilor was to mediate between two sides of controversial issues. A few of the issues she mentioned that flamed passions in town were the deer hunting ordinance, the dog ordinance and the water meter ordinance.
“I think people appreciated I could see both views while trying to find common ground for people to compromise,” she said.
Boyer reprised her role as a councilor most recently because she wanted to give the council stability while it welcomed two new members, Jessica Ledger-Kalen and Tony Hammes.
“It takes a few years for people to get their feet wet and understand how things work,” she said. “There’s so much to learn it takes awhile.”
Boyer did not discount the possibility of serving on the council a third time. She chose not to run for election in the fall because she wants to concentrate on her business. In January, Douglas Flournoy will assume Boyer’s seat on the council.
The council showed its support for the county’s social host ordinance by passing the first reading of its own social host ordinance. The county’s social host ordinance gives law enforcement the authority to impose civil fines on adults hosting a gathering where alcohol is served to anyone under age 21. The first offense will be a fine of $750 and the second and all subsequent offenses will be a fine of $1,000.
Ledger-Kalen said the public safety committee recommended the city adopt the same ordinance the county passed in September. The county’s social host ordinance already applies inside Fairfield’s city limits, so its potential inclusion in the city code would be mostly symbolic. Police Chief Julie Harvey said it was an important message to send to let people know Jefferson County and Fairfield are doing all they can to reduce underage and binge drinking. She said law enforcement has attacked underage and binge drinking on nearly all sides, and that the social host ordinance is the missing piece.
Jefferson County Environmental Health director Dan Miller spoke to the council about the dangers of radon. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking in the United States.
Radon is a cancer-causing, colorless and odorless naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. States in the northern part of the country tend to have higher radon levels than southern states because of the uranium deposits the glacier left behind in the northern states when it receded thousands of years ago. Iowa has the highest percentage of homes above the EPA’s action level of any in the nation.
Radon enters buildings through cracks in solid floors, construction joints, gaps in suspended floors and gaps around service pipes. The only way to detect its presence is to test for it, because it cannot be seen or smelled. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
The council agreed to recognize January as “Radon Action Month.”
The council approved four tax abatement requests. The four tax abatements were for:
• Denny and Linda Oakes, who live in the 400 block of East Buchanan Avenue;
• Norm’s Rental, in the 2200 block of Glasgow Road;
• Tom Ridgley, for a property in the 400 block of North Fourth Street;
• Ricardo & Margaret Beth Alonso, for a property in the 1000 block of Walton Road.
In other news, the council:
• set a public hearing for the Community Development Block Grant downtown revitalization grant for 7 p.m. Jan. 13;
• set a public hearing to rezone 1005 W. Broadway Avenue at 7 p.m. Jan. 13;
• accepted the 2013 street improvements that included resurfacing Maple Street, Harrison Avenue and 14th Street;
• accepted wastewater improvements near the Libertyville Road/Highway 1 extension as final;
• accepted the wastewater improvements to the 200 block of Jefferson Avenue as final;
• endorsed the funding application to rebuild Kirkwood Avenue between Seventh and Ninth streets;
• authorized the application for grant funds to pave shoulders along South Highway 1;
• annexed the Laus Deo Subdivision;
• annexed land adjacent to Prairie Lakes Subdivision lot six
• accepted the preliminary and final plat for Prairie Lakes Subdivision
• passed the first reading of an ordnance to rezone land adjacent to Prairie Lakes Subdivision from R1 to R2.