WC welcomes new Fire Chief

The City Council of Webster City welcomed John Conyn, the new Webster City Fire Chief, at their regular meeting on Monday.

Conyn previously held the position of Lieutenant Firefighter/Paramedic and Lead Instructor with the Racine Fire Department in Wisconsin. He had worked with that department since 1990, according to a news release from the City of Webster City. Prior to his work in Wisconsin, Conyn served as a Sergeant in the United States Air Force and spent seven years as a firefighter with the Great Lakes Fire Department in North Chicago.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, the Council voted in concurrence with City Manager Ed Sadler’s decision to hire Conyn as Fire Chief. Conyn said he didn’t see his work as a job, but as an honor, and hopes to continue the great tradition set forth by the Webster City Fire Department.

“This Fire Station is for the community,” Conyn said. “It’s your fire station and I’m just lucky enough to be able to be there to answer the calls.”

He invited community members to visit the Fire Station and meet him.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Council passed the second reading of the Animal Protection and Control Ordinance.

A couple community members voiced concerns about the ordinance. Jerry Kloberdanz, former City Council member, said he wants the council to reconsider putting a limit on the number of pets that can be owned in a single dwelling. The proposed ordinance had previously contained such language, but it was removed.

“I would hate to see us get to the point where we’re struggling with the individuals that like to abuse the system, and we all know we have them,” Kloberdanz said. “I guess I would rather see us try to put limits on the amount of abuse people could use.”

Councilman Logan Welch said he doesn’t want to restrict something that may be an issue until it becomes one.

“I would hate to put limits on a number anticipating there may be a problem or some bad apples in the group,” Welch said. “I think a lot of people respect their neighbors and respect their animals and make sure they keep them in a humane, healthy and clean environment.”

Another community speaker, Jeff Pingel, said six chickens owned by one of his neighbors have caused problems. He said those chickens have been at large and have defecated on his property multiple times despite a warning from the Webster City Police Department.

“I’ve told them several times, ‘I don’t like your chickens pooping on my driveway.’ But, lo and behold, I come home and there’s chickens pooping on my driveway,” Pingel said. “You can all sit and chuckle, but when they move in next to you the novelty runs off very quickly. It’s not funny and it’s not fun and it doesn’t smell good and it’s going to get worse and this is only six chickens.”

In the current draft of the ordinance, the Council included language to allow chickens to be kept in residential areas. Currently, they are not allowed. After discussion, the Council voted to pass the second reading. Councilman Geary Meyer voted against passing the reading as he did during the first reading on June 16. Webster City Mayor Doug Getter told City Attorney Gary Groves to work on language which would restrict large-scale chicken operations in residential areas. Getter suggested language which would limit eggs produced by such chickens to be used for personal consumption only. However, Groves said such language would need to be refined before the third reading of the ordinance.

In other business, City Council members were presented with recommendations for the current round of Hotel/Motel grants from Jack Foster of the Hotel/Motel Tax Board. The Council approved the recommendations with no changes.Getter abstained from the Council’s discussion and vote as he advised Legacy Learning Boone River Valley, that received a grant, on legal issues in the past.