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Ottumwa City Council and Wapello County looking at supplying Wapello County EMA with new building

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 9:00 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Wapello County Emergency Management is looking to move out of the Law Enforcement Building.

EMA Coordinator Tim Richmond brought it before the Ottumwa City Council Tuesday night.

He said most people didn’t know much about EMA before COVID-19.

“Many of you now have a better understanding of the type of leadership Emergency Management provides during times of disaster and large-scale emergencies in our communities.”

Now, he’s been working with the City and the Wapello County Board of Supervisors to look at moving to a new building.

He says that would let EMA assist the county in times of emergencies better. Richmond says “none of this can happen in an 11 by 11 storage closet.”

Specifically, he’s looking at the old Ottumwa Transit Building by JBS.

While the City has an obligation to 10-15 Transit, they can purchase their way out of it. The City and the County would split the cost between them.

The City Council members were in favor of looking into it. Councilman Matt Dalbey said, “I think we’ve seen the importance of Emergency Management and the fact that Tim’s been working out of a tiny office is, in my opinion, ridiculous.”

They consented for EMA to continue looking into purchasing this building. Richmond says it would be the perfect building for EMA. “This would be a win-win for both entities. It fulfills the needs of the EMA and would continue to serve the needs of Ottumwa and the rest of the county.”

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Five new police cars will join the Ottumwa Police Department’s current fleet. These vehicles will replace five older vehicles. The total pricing of the vehicles and equipment installation is set at $236,515.

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City Administrator Phil Rath made a public service announcement for fireworks, many of which are sold beginning June 1st. “In order to use fireworks on the city on private property, that’s limited to July 4th. That’s the one day a year. And it is limited between the hours of 4:30 pm and 10:30 pm.”

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And the moratorium has ended on buildable vacant lots. Previously, vacant city-owned lots weren’t able to be bought unless the purchaser signed a development agreement to build on the lot. However, new revisions will see current vacant lots reviewed for suitability. Notices will then be sent to unsuitable lots’ neighbors with a notice of sale. There will be new restrictions on non-neighbors from buying green space. The City has seen buyers neglect or misuse property in the past. The City will also look at creating a program to sell unsuitable lots in residential districts for nonprofit gardens.

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