Councilman Questions Watering Exemptions for Woodbury
Christopher Burns says the watering rules and other issues prompted him to request an upcoming council workshop.
If you have to follow the rules, why doesn’t the city?
That’s the question Councilman Christopher Burns has asked, prompting an upcoming workshop session on a few issues he has with how the city handles certain ordinances and procedures.
Public Works Director David Jessup said those places—and others like Bailey Nursery—need the exemption because it’s part of their basic service.
“It’s not ancillary; it’s not aesthetic,” he said.
Councilwoman Julie Ohs also noted that the turf at Eagle Valley and Bielenberg are taxpayer investments that the city must protect.
But Burns also said that he recently saw sprinklers on at the city’s Public Safety Department between noon and 5 p.m., when it’s prohibited for residents to water their lawns. Staff said it was likely an issue with the timers.
So a resident would be fined for a similar issue, “but with the city it’s an ‘oops’ thing,” Burns said.
“I want us to follow the same rules as everybody else,” he said.
Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said there are times when Eagle Valley staff must water between noon and 5 p.m. or “they’ll lose the grass.”
While Burns said he respects Klatt’s expertise, he also said that assertion seemed “a bit off.”
During Wednesday’s meeting, Councilman Paul Rebholz said former Mayor Bill Hargis was ever cognizant of the issue of institutional integrity and added that the watering at Bielenberg and the golf course are special cases.
Still, Rebholz said, “Your point is well taken.”
Burns has other issues besides the watering, including:
- taking down trees for a pond-reclamation project;
- donating old playground equipment without seeking out other groups (“Why just the one charity?”); and
- not putting out bids for the company that conduct’s the city’s biannual survey.
“I’m a fan of Sunshine Laws and things that keep it as open and honest as possible,” Burns said.
He said he simply wants to revisit some of these items during the workshop and make sure they make sense for Woodbury.