Decatur eyes stricter open burning law

    The City of Decatur is updating its ordinance governing burning by the public, and the idea sparked a lengthy discussion at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
    Mayor John Schultz said some complaints, mainly concerning the burning of trash, prompted him to ask City Attorney Tim Baker to draw an amendment to the current ordinance covering the regulation of open burning.
    After the discussion, it was decided that council members, Fire Chief Les Marckel and Police Chief Ken Ketzler will consider the proposal further and offer up any changes they would like to see made.
    "I really just wanted us to discuss it tonight" anyway, Schultz said.
    "And I would like some public comment," Councilman Matt Dyer added.
    Earlier, the mayor had said, referring to trash, "I don't think there's any reason to burn," noting that the city has weekly trash collections, twice-yearly heavy trash pickups and a compost pile where items may be dumped.
    Baker said the idea is to "protect public health and safety."
    Responding to a question posed by Councilman Cam Collier, Marckel said his department gets calls about the burning of trash "probably weekly this time of the year."
    Open burning is already banned in the city. The amended ordinance proposal  bans "open burning of combustible materials, including but not limited to garbage, household refuse, flammable liquids, petroleum products, rubber products, recyclables, construction and/or demolition materials, yard waste and/or leaves."
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