City Yard Waste Site To Have Set Open Hours Starting June 22nd

(June 16, 2022) – Starting on Wednesday, June 22nd, the City of Decorah Yard Waste Site will have set open hours. The Yard Waste Site will be open on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 6:00 PM and on Saturdays from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM. A key will no longer need to be checked out to access the site during these open hours.

As a reminder, only residents that live within City of Decorah city limits can deposit yard waste material at the Yard Waste Site. However, residents and non-residents are welcome to take wood chips, compost, and/or firewood from the site.

Please call the Street Department at 563-382-2157 with any questions.

Do You Have Ash Trees on Your Property?

Do You Have Ash Trees on Your Property? Be Sure to Have Them Checked for Borers.

Decorah, IA (January 11, 2022) – The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is now firmly established in Decorah and infesting trees throughout the community. This introduced pest kills all species of ash trees by tunneling under the bark, destroying tissue that is essential to the life of the tree. Symptoms include cracked bark, branch dieback, new shoots sprouting from the trunk of the tree, and patches of light brown bark where woodpeckers have chipped off the gray outer bark while searching for the insects (called flecking).

Flecking is easily identified this time of year because woodpeckers are busy foraging for the larvae. In early stages of the EAB infestation, flecking will appear in the upper canopy of the tree (on smaller branches). As the infestation progresses, signs of flecking will continue throughout the lower canopy and down the trunk of the tree. In most cases, the tree should be removed as soon as possible when flecking is noticed on the trunk.

Trees that are heavily infested by EAB must be removed. The wood of trees killed by the borers dries out quickly, becoming brittle and hazardous, so it is wise to monitor trees regularly for presence of the pest and remove them while it is still safe to do so.

If a homeowner has an ash tree or suspects they may have an ash tree on their property, the City is highly recommending that it be checked by an arborist. If not badly infested, trees can be treated by having a certified applicator inject a suitable insecticide into the trunk of the tree. Treatments vary and must be reapplied throughout the life of the tree. Treatments applied to the soil are not recommended as they can be less effective, harmful to pollinators, and more likely to be overapplied. Please check with a local arborist for a treatment option that best fits the needs of you and your tree.

Diversity in our urban tree canopy is vital, so a disease or pest infestation is less likely to affect such a large portion of trees all at once. When planting, take a look at tree species in your neighborhood and choose one that is less common. One of the most commonly planted trees is maple. Homeowners are strongly cautioned against planting maple trees on private property due to overpopulation. All but one species of the maple genus are prohibited in boulevards until a healthy diversity in the urban canopy is achieved.

For more information, please contact City Forester Sam Hogenson at 563-277-5153 or by e-mail at Additional information is also available on the Decorah Tree Board website at

Snow Removal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Decorah, IA (December 30, 2021) – With another winter season well underway, the City has received several questions regarding recent changes to the City’s snow removal code as well as requests for clarification of on-street parking requirements during a snow emergency. In an effort to help with these issues, the City has developed a list of snow removal frequently asked questions (FAQs).

  1. What are the recent updates to the City’s snow removal Code?

Recently, City Council approved several updates to the City’s Snow Removal Code. The primary points of emphasis were as follows:

  • Property owners shall not deposit any snow on to City streets, alleys, or parking lots, unless approval is received from the City. In other words, DO NOT push or blow snow from driveways or sidewalks into the street, alley, or parking lot.
  • Property owners must remove snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours following a snow event.
  • Property owners shall not place snow from their property on to another property or the right-of-way/boulevard of another property without approval from the appropriate property owner.
  • If City snow removal operations damage a mailbox, property owners must submit a Mailbox Claim Form for reimbursement. The City is not responsible for damage to other items in the boulevard (fences, plantings, etc.).
  1. When does a snow emergency take place?

A snow emergency is in effect whenever the City experiences a snowfall which accumulates a depth of one inch or more. The City makes every effort to issue a press release to notify residents when a snow emergency is in place, however, residents should be aware that a snow emergency is automatically in place whenever 1” or more of snow is received.

  1. What are the requirements for on-street parking during a snow emergency?

The City’s snow emergency parking policy requires that on even-numbered calendar days, all vehicles shall be parked on the side of the street where buildings have even numbers. On odd-numbered calendar days, all vehicles shall be parked on the side of the street where buildings have odd numbers. Residents are also reminded that when a snow emergency is not in place, any vehicles parked on the street need to be moved every 48 hours. 

  1. What time should a vehicle be moved to meet the odd and even side requirements?

This is a difficult question as the timing of snowfall is always hard to predict. That said, all residents should move their vehicles to the other side of the street sometime between 8 PM and 12 midnight. For example, if a snow emergency is in place on December 30th, all vehicles shall be parked on the even side of the street. After 8 PM on December 30th, vehicles can move over to the odd side of the street in anticipation of the odd side parking requirement for December 31st.

  1. What about for streets that are posted as one-sided parking only?

For City streets that have signs prohibiting parking on one side, the snow emergency parking restrictions supersede the one-sided parking. In other words, if a street normally does not allow parking on the odd side, vehicles are allowed to park on the odd side during a snow emergency. Once the snow emergency is no longer in effect, the normal one-sided parking restrictions are in place.

  1. What are the options for on-street parking in the downtown district?

It is very important for residents living in the downtown district to follow parking restrictions. Even when there is not a snow emergency in place, current parking restrictions do not allow overnight parking in most of the downtown district. Areas available for overnight parking include the 48-hour parking lot at the intersection of Heivly Street and Claiborne Drive, along the south side of Heivly Street, and along various side streets.

  1. When will cars and trucks start getting towed if they haven’t moved?

The City is working to educate residents on the changes to the snow emergency parking restrictions. The Police Department has started issuing warnings on vehicles that are not parked correctly. Per City Code, any vehicle that is not parked correctly or determined to be an interference with snow removal operations could be towed.

  1. How can you tell if a street is odd or even if there are no house numbers on the block?

This is uncommon, but there are a few streets around town that do not have the houses facing the right direction to have any house numbers on the block. For these blocks, the north and east sides should be considered even, and the south and west sides should be considered odd.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to provide updates on changes to the snow removal policies. As always, please contact the Street Department at 382-2157 with any additional questions.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Notice


The Decorah Municipal Airpont hereby announces its fiscal years 2022, 2023 and 2024 goal of 0.00% for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) airport construction projects. The proposed goals and rationale is available for inspection between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at the City Manager’s Office, 400 Claiborne Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101 for 30 days from the date of this publication.

Comments on the DBE goat will be accepted for 30 days from the date of this publication and can be sent to the following:

Wanda Hemesath
City of Decorah
400 Claiborne Drive
P.O. Box 138
Decorah, IA 52101
Ofelia Medina
FAA Office of Civil Rights
777 S. Aviation Blvd Suite #150
El Segundo, CA 90245

Thinking About Filing for a Council Position?

Positions Up for Election in 2021:

The following Council positions are up for election in 2021: 1st Ward, 3rd Ward, 5th Ward, one At-Large position, Mayor and 2 Park and Recreation Board positions.

Election Dates:

Filing for Candidacy: Filing Begins: Monday, August 23, Deadline is 5:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 General Election: November 2, 2021


Facts You Should Know 


Decorah is a Chartered City, operating under a Mayor/Council form of government. The City Manager and City Clerk, Treasurer are appointed by the City Council. There are seven members serving on the Council elected for four-year terms. There are five ward positions and two at-large positions.


The City Council acts as the official legislative and policy making body of the City adopting all laws, ordinances, and resolutions, and approving contracts required by the City. The Council analyzes proposals to meet community needs, initiates action for new programs and determines the ability of the City to provide financing for City operations. The Council also reviews, modifies, and approves the annual municipal budget presented by the City Manager and City Clerk, Tr. Additionally, the City Council performs other miscellaneous duties, including appointments to various boards and commissions, acts as liaison with other governmental bodies, and responds to community groups and individual constituents. As the governing elected body, the Council is also responsible for oversight and response of any natural or man-made emergency within city limits. Further, Council is expected to be on-call and available during times of disaster. The Council has established a series of committees and shares assignments on other special or ad hoc committees, generally determined by the Mayor.

How much time does it take to be a Council Member?

City Council meetings are held the first and third Mondays of the month at 5:45 p.m., except when official holidays occur on these particular Mondays. Duration of meetings vary from one-half hour to three hours, usually averaging one hour. Typically, committee meetings are held immediately following regular Council meetings and one council work session is held the fourth Monday of the month, if needed. All Council and committee meetings must comply with State Open Meeting Law requirements. Therefore, most meetings are open to the public. Closed meetings must comply with strict requirements set forth in the State Code. Committee meetings are also open to the public but generally are less formal and afford the members an opportunity to review details and brainstorm ideas that might not otherwise occur in the more structured setting of a Council meeting. On Thursday prior to the Council meetings, an electronic Council packet containing the agenda for the upcoming meeting, staff reports and other general information is sent to each Councilmember. Periodic updates on other matters of concern are also sent out as needed.

In addition to these meetings, you should allow time for other duties; (i.e. out-of-town meetings, speaking engagements, conversing with citizens, and ceremonial events). A budget work session is held in January or February, during which time the proposed budget is presented.


Members of the City Council are required by law to comply with certain standards of conduct involving potential conflicts of interest. Details about this and related questions can be obtained by contacting the City Clerk’s Office.


The elective officers of the City shall reside in the Ward for which they are running. Members of the Council shall be qualified electors of the City.


The salary for Council members is established by ordinance passed by the Council. No Councilmember may vote himself/herself an increase in salary. Action on a salary increase normally is considered prior to the regular general election with the increase being effective the first of the following year.

Effective 1-1-18 pay for Council positions is $50.00 for each official Council meeting and $400/mo. for Mayor

The fringe benefits include:

  • Reimbursement for eligible
  • Workmen's Compensation insurance
  • Professional liability indemnification covering Council members in their official capacity.
  • Payment by the City of its portion of Social Security payroll tax or membership in the Iowa Public Employers Retirement


All elections, whether special or general, shall be conducted by the County.

Filing for Candidacy:

Candidate nomination papers may be obtained from Wanda Hemesath, City Clerk, Tr., City Municipal Building or Ben Steines, Winneshiek Co. Auditor, Court House.

All candidate declarations of candidacy must be filed with Ben Steines, Winneshiek County Auditor, between August 23rd and no later than 5:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept 16th. All general elections for the City shall be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in the odd-numbered years. City elections are non-partisan.


If any Councilmember, elected or appointed, to an at-large position moves outside the City boundary, or in the event a Councilmember elected or appointed to a "ward position" moves outside his/her ward, then that Councilmember shall thereby forfeit the office of Councilmember and said position shall be deemed vacant.

In the event a vacancy occurs, for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled pursuant to Section 372.13 of the Code of Iowa.


Positions Up for Election in 2021:

The following Council positions are up for election in 2021: 1st Ward, 3rd Ward, 5th Ward, one At-Large position, Mayor and 2 Park and Recreation Board positions.

Election Dates:

Filing for Candidacy: Filing Begins: Monday, August 23, Deadline is 5:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 General Election: November 2, 2021

X. Political Advertising

The City, in Chapter 17 (Zoning Code) regulates political yard signs. Political signs are permitted which during a campaign, advertise a candidate or candidates for public elective office, a political party, or promote a position on a public issue, provided such signs are on private property and are removed within seven days following the election.



Spring Tree Pruning

Text only version available below PDF

2021 0324 Tree Pruning Press Release

Early Spring a Good Time to Prune Trees

Decorah, IA (March 24, 2021) – Early spring is an ideal time to prune your young trees, according to the Decorah Tree Board. Proper pruning will help prolong the life of your trees by reducing the risk of breakage as the trees grow. Pruning will also help your trees develop attractive, symmetrical shapes. Tools that are useful for pruning young trees include hand shears, loppers, and pruning saws. Make sure your tools are sharp so you get a clean cut and do not crush or tear the branches you are pruning.

Here are some tree pruning tips:

  • One of the most important things to remember when pruning a tree is that trees cannot heal Trees can only seal wounds so any wound you create will be with that tree for the rest of its life.
  • Wound dressing is not recommended to seal wounds on trees. Research has shown that wound dressings may actually harm the tree. Only apply a wound dressing if you must prune an oak tree during oak wilt season (April through July).
  • Remove any branches that are dead, broken, or rubbing against other branches.
  • Prune to maintain a central main stem that is as straight as possible and taller than the tree’s side branches. Remove or shorten any branches competing with this stem.
  • Remember that the branches attached to the main stem (trunk) will eventually become the main limbs of the tree. These main limbs should begin around ten (10) to fifteen (15) feet from the ground. All lower branches should be considered temporary for proper trunk development and to make street and sidewalk clearance easier to maintain. Select the strongest and sturdiest ones, and prune away competing branches. Make sure the branches you select are well-spaced along the main stem, with only one branch at each level. Favor branches that form a wide angle with the main stem, as these will have the strongest attachments.
  • When pruning a branch off, do not leave a stub! Always remove the entire branch, but take care that you do not sever the thickened, collar-like area at the base of the branch, as this is crucial when the tree begins to seal its wound. Improper pruning cuts are more likely to lead to pest infestation, disease, rot, or even tree death.
  • Be careful when removing large branches, so they do not break before you are done cutting them, tearing the bark as they fall and creating a large wound. Cut such branches with a 3-step process as shown in the accompanying diagram.
  • Do not prune oak trees from April through July as wounds made at that time will attract the beetles that spread oak wilt disease.

When hiring a contractor for tree work, it is important to hire someone who is qualified for the job. The City of Decorah recommends an ISA Certified Arborist for any tree work. Credentials generally mean a more professional and qualified individual is doing the work.

For more information, please contact City Forester Sam Hogenson at 563-277-5153 or by e-mail at Additional information is also available on the Decorah Tree Board website at

This is an official city press release.  Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the author.  Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.


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