Council Member explains why he voted against new city ordinance

At Tuesday's Ottumwa City Council meeting, a decision was made not to go ahead with changing a city ordinance focusing on the city's right of way.

By a 3-2 vote, the council decided that the current ordinance that is in place, which focuses on where trees and other vegetation can be planted, is sufficient. However, some agree that it does need a little more teeth to it.

KTVO spoke with Council Member Jeremy Weller about this issue, and he told KTVO that the new ordinance that was being proposed was not fair.

"I didn't think that not allowing people to plant in the right of way was the right way to go about it. What people were not talking about, is that there is right of ways that go through people's back yards, and so it really was limiting citizens from not being able to plant not only in their front yard, but some of them in the back yard. Having this ordinance is having a pretty broad brush that we are painting this picture with and it does not affect everyone evenly or fairly," Weller said.

One proposal that has been brought up in numerous conversations, mostly by Ottumwa Public Information Officer Tom Rodgers, is getting the Arbor Day Foundation involved in the community once again. If this were to happen, and a chapter was once again established, local citizens would have the support of the organization, and that could potentially help bring some federal funding to Ottumwa to help the community deal with this issue.