Supervisors better than Washington? Perhaps not

Before taking the vote Monday on the first reading of an ordinance to place a curfew on the use of unmuffled engine brakes in the county, board of supervisors chair John Muir complimented his fellow board members. “I think this is what makes us better than Washington. We made concessions and came up with something that I think everybody is comfortable with,” Muir said.

Muir spoke too soon. The first reading failed on a two-two vote, with Muir and Guy Richardson voting in favor of the ordinance and Tom Contner and Mick Burkett voting against. Supervisor Dawn Rudolph was absent from the meeting.

Contner and Burkett both said two weeks ago they would support the ordinance with the addition of the 10 pm to 6 am curfew.

Shane Olson has championed prohibiting the use of jake brakes. He asked Contner and Burkett after the Monday vote why they voted against it.

Contner said he had reconsidered. “The thing that bothers me is that one person can come to the board of supervisors and ask for an ordinance and get it passed. You said there’s a lot of people out there that are in favor of it, but I got to thinking about it, and I don’t think it’s right for one person to be able to dictate to the county what goes on,” Contner said. He said he understands Olson’s concerns with being awakened during the night by the noise, but that the ordinance would be hard to enforce, and that the Code of Iowa already deals with excessive noise.

Richardson took issue with that, saying no one is dictating to him, and that law enforcement in the county is supportive of the ordinance.

Olson didn’t press Burkett for an explanation of his vote.

Muir said that with the curfew in the ordinance, it would not affect local producers, as even during the harvest season, they’re not on the road between 10 pm and 6 am. “With the curfew, we’re doing a benefit to anyone that could be affected by it. That’s why I don’t have an issue with one person. One person brought it up, was persistent…. but with those hours, it comes around to regulating courtesy,” Muir said.

Another reading will be held at the Aug. 24 meeting at 10:15 am.

Olson had previously posted an online petition asking for the ordinance. To see that petition, click here.

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