Oskaloosa sewer project causes headache for farmer

by Dennis Sharkey

A farmer who owns land adjacent to an area being worked on for the city’s sewer project wants to be paid back.

Jerry Robbins farms land adjacent to the city where he raises cattle. This past summer Robbins did not have access to about 30 acres of his land because of the Oskaloosa sewer project.

Robbins wants to be reimbursed for half of his water usage from June 1 to Oct. 1 because the creek that supplies water to his property was shut off because of construction work being done to the creek.

Robbins also wants to be reimbursed for 34 bales of hay and two walnut trees that were removed without his consent. Robbins said he paid $30 apiece for the hay.

“I’ve fed 10 head of cattle all summer long because I couldn’t turn them out,” he said. “This is not just a backyard deal for me. This is money that came out of my pocket that I had to pay.”

Robbins said he was more than happy to cooperate with the construction crews when it came to accessing his land. He said he told crews to notify him before work so he could put his animals up. However, he discovered work had already begun when a fence was torn down and he got the call that some of his animals were in the road.

“I made it perfectly clear that if they let me know I could have had those cattle penned up,” he said. “I was never told until they had already been there.”

Robbins told the council that he is also worried about spring rains. Construction crews diverted the creek and changed the flow. He said no effort was made to stabilize the creek.

“Something has to be done to stop that hillside because it’s going to wash into the creek,” Robbins said.

Robbins also said that work to repair the fence is not up to standards.

“I could throw a cow right through it right now,” he said.

The council said they would look into Robbins’ issue. Council members seemed like they were sympathetic to Robbins’ problem.

In other actions:

• Mayor Mike Boyd announced that he has received a resignation letter from Councilman James Malsbury. Malsbury has not attended a city council meeting in 10 months.

Boyd said he has received little interest from qualified candidates to replace Malsbury.

Malbury’s term ends this May with elections the first Tuesday in April. Council President Kelly Hattemer and Boyd’s terms also expire.

Filing for candidates has already begun and ends Jan. 25. Applications can be picked up at City Hall and there is a $5 application fee. A candidate must be a resident of the city by the time they take office and must be registered to vote.

• The council had a lengthy discussion about the city’s snow removal equipment and some future expenditures that may be needed. Boyd wants to purchase a new salt and sand spreader for the city’s one-ton pickup for a backup and to treat deadend streets.

• The council discussed the city’s open building inspector and what the job will entail.

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Posted by on Jan 1 2011. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Oskaloosa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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