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Survey: Residents back leaf-burning

More enforcement needed, official says

ROCK FALLS – Leaf-burning is popular in Rock Falls.

In a recent survey, 74 percent of residents favored the city's policy allowing it. Twenty-six percent wanted to ban it.

The city sent the survey to residents in its utility bills. About 1,200, or 20 percent, of utility customers responded – more than the number who voted in the last mayoral election.

Rock Falls has some limitations on burning. For instance, residents can't burn their yard waste before 10 a.m., after sunset or when winds exceed 10 mph.

Rock Falls City Administrator Robbin Blackert said many residents believe the city isn't adequately enforcing its leaf-burning regulations.

"We should be mindful of that going forward," she told the City Council on Tuesday. "We need to do a better job of enforcing the policy. That was a common theme in comments."

The city conducted the survey because some residents called Alderman Brian Snow about their concerns over leaf-burning, Blackert said.

"I'm shocked we don't get more calls about this than we do," she said.

Some people wrote on their survey sheets that they live in Rock Falls because it allows leaf-burning, Blackert said.

Sterling and Dixon prohibit leaf-burning.

Morrison allows leaf-burning, but the city studied the issue for months last year because some residents feared the health effects of leaf-burning. The City Council decided to stick with the policy, with some additional regulations.

In other business

Also at Tuesday's Rock Falls City Council meeting:

• The city reported receiving $25,000 over a 3-day period last week as the result of its participation in the state comptroller's new Local Debt Recovery program, which helps towns recover delinquent electric, sewer, water and garbage payments by garnishing customers' income from tax returns, state paychecks, lottery winnings and commercial vendor payments. The $25,000 is believed to be the result of income tax refunds.

• The council approved the rezoning of 17 acres at 600 E. 17th St., behind Crystal Lake, to Ag-1 special use. That paves the way for businessman Brent Porter's plan for an RV park. The first phase of construction is expected to start in the spring. The park will include sites for RVs, and eventually, tent camping, Mayor David Blanton said.

• The council approved the creation of a Facebook page following the completion of training and education for department heads and their assistants.

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