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  • Last modified 32 days ago (Aug. 19, 2017)

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Council takes another quack at duck ordinance

Staff writer

A Marion family is closer to keeping their ducks, but they will have to wait at least two more weeks before any binding action by city council.

Jason and Tiffany Ivy requested a waiver to the city fowl ordinance after they moved to Marion from Hillsboro and discovered their ducks were illegal in city limits.

The council, in a 4-1 vote, directed city attorney Susan Robson to draft an ordinance by the next meeting that allows — but limits — the number of ducks.

Council members discussed whether any action on ducks should be a new ordinance or an amendment to an existing chicken ordinance.

Chris Costello’s motion asked for an ordinance allowing six or fewer ducks.

“They are messier (than chickens), so I would suggest that as well, have a smaller number than 20 for sure,” Ivy said.

“From the administration side, I need to ask, how much space do I need for ostriches and emus?” city administrator Roger Holter said, as council members and attendees chuckled.

“Your ducks are a little bit less aggressive than your ostriches and emus as well,” Ivy responded. “The neighborhood dogs won’t have to worry.”

Ivy has six ducks and two chickens.

“You kind of need the chickens because the bedding you use for the ducks can attract rodents, and the chickens will combat that,” he said.

City code allows up to 20 chickens.

“I wouldn’t want to live next to a house that has 20 chickens and six ducks,” Robson said.

“I wouldn’t want to live next to a house that has that either,” Ivy said.

Councilman Jerry Kline said some city residents don’t keep their dog pens clean.

“You can’t hardly penalize a person that has ducks and is trying to do it right,” he said.

Ivy said he is building a 3-foot-tall privacy fence enclosing 500 square feet at their residence in the 200 block of north Roosevelt St.

“I went through (Ivy’s) alley, and it’s very clean, very well-kept out there — better than some chicken places that I’ve seen,” Costello said.

Robson, in a memo to council members, said University of Cornell researchers said three square feet is required per duck. Lawrence — the only municipality she could find in the state that allows ducks — limits them to one per 500 square feet.

“Wow, that’s quite a yard for one duck,” Ivy said.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt was the lone dissenter against drafting an ordinance.

“I’m probably not for this at this point given how much work we’re going to have to do to get this in place for (the benefit of) one individual,” Heitschmidt said.

Referencing the chicken discussion at city council meetings earlier this year, he said there is not time for another discussion on fowl.

“We don’t have the time for that, and I don’t think anybody has the time, and we wasted everybody’s time, and we showed how we can’t be good neighbors with these issues,” he said. “I understand the position that you’re in. I think there’s some alternatives for that to fulfill your need.”

Tiffany Ivy has a “severe allergic reaction” to chicken eggs, and duck eggs comprise a large part of her diet.

A reported decline in curbside recycling this year drew comments from resident Margaret Wilson and Bud Druse, transfer station director.

“As I walk the streets I see a lot of people throwing trash away that is 100 percent recycleable,” Wilson said.

Druse said the transfer station does not sort through trash to separate recycleables.

“Well there you go Margaret, if you need something to do,” Heitschmidt said.

“Yes, fill my empty hours,” Wilson responded.

“No, I won’t allow that,” Druse said.

Wilson said Americans should recycle more.

“We get paid to recycle, that’s money back to us, but it costs us to fill a hole in the earth called a landfill,” she said.

The city is paid $64 per ton of recycling sent to the center in Hutchinson, but pays $36 per ton of trash sent to the landfill near El Dorado.

Holter said after the meeting that recycling is actually up 12.83 tons so far this year and trash is down 3.97 tons. Curbside recycling is down because more people are instead using a recycling drop off point, which the city did not have a year ago.

The city will save more than 50 percent per month after switching phone service to Verizon. The previous landline charge was $1,015 per month while the Verizon charge is $480. The city will retire all landlines except the two at the water tower and airport used for data transfer.

The city will now prepare cemetery deeds and file them with the register of deeds, charging a fee. Before, if individuals lost their deed and had not filed it with the register of deeds, the city had to create a new one.

Last modified Aug. 19, 2017

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