Mason City leaders exchanged sharp words at last night’s city council meeting after a proposal was rejected to salvage items from more than 100 flood-damaged homes. City administrator Brent Trout says the city has been trying to find a solution to gleen materials from the houses, which have sat vacant since the floods of 2008.
Trout says the Habitat staff has made an effort to salvage the buildings but now the city is being asked to provide funds to support the effort. Councilman Max Weaver suggested having the city partner with Habitat for Humanity and other non-profit groups to salvage usable items from the wrecked houses. While banging his fist on the podium, Weaver says Mason City residents won’t be happy with the council’s decision to shoot down the idea.
“I’ll tell you what the backlash is going to be, the citizens of this community are going to see those houses be torn down and they’re going to be appalled by what’s taken out to the dump that somebody could have used,” Weaver says. “Is this a big joke just to talk green, to act green but not carry through green, reuse?” Habitat was approved for funding to salvage items through a federal emergency program, but that ended June 30th. Weaver admitted he’d overstepped some boundaries and was upset.
“It’s very frustrating and I am out of line most of the time,” Weaver says. “I do question authority and I’ve done it my whole life and I’m 60 years old, practically. I’m not going to quit anytime soon. I’ll fight the Cold War to the end and we have it right here in this room.”
The funding Weaver requested from the city would have been used for tools, transportation, manpower and storage for the materials. Those items, from door knobs to toilets, could either be used in future Habitat projects or at the organization’s ReStore, which sells new or gently used items — with the money going back to Habitat.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City