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City looking at bringing BIRD Scooters to Ottumwa

Along with other highlights from Tuesday night’s City Council meeting
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - The electric scooter company BIRD has shown interest in bringing the service to Ottumwa and other similar sized Iowa cities. The City asked the council to approve developing a memorandum of understanding between itself and the company. The scooters would cost a dollar to initially activate, with a smaller charge per mile.

But when it comes for enforcement, Councilman Meyers says he has a lot of questions. “Are we going to allow them on streets? Are we going to allow them on sidewalks? Are we going to allow them on trails?” He also asked about people leaving scooters around Main Street and other busier roads.

And Councilman Dalbey ultimately voted yes, citing how he didn’t want to get in the way of business despite reservations. “I have no issue with it. I have concerns. Like Councilman Meyers said. I think he has a lot of legitimate issues and concerns about it. But I’m not going to stand in the way of it. I think it’s something to try, and let the business do what it does best.”

The motion passed 3-2.

City Administrator Phil Rath wanted to make the record clear - the City won’t be buying the scooters, just authorizing them to be in Ottumwa.

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Rental Inspections are coming back. After they were paused in a February meeting for COVID-19 concerns, the City has approved opening them back up, starting on May 17th.. However, City Planner Zach Simonson says inspectors will still wear PPE and take safety measures. “We’d also include in the inspection notice that they should call the office if anyone in the household is having COVID symptoms and we’ll reschedule that inspection.”

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The City will purchase used airport equipment from Archangel to be used with the new city-acquired Ottumwa Regional Airport.

The check is set at $137,000, be paid back over a time by the airport’s income.

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And finally, Mayor Tom Lazio continues to look at ways to fix the sometimes hour-long blockages at the Blackhawk Road rail intersection. The City plans to have a conference call with Canadian Pacific, the rail company, to see what solutions they can come up with. The Mayor says the blockage “seems to be a very difficult thing for people who are out in that area.”

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