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

Pole Line Road Bridge to be Closed Starting on Monday 6/14

Decorah, IA (June 10, 2021)

The City of Decorah is notifying residents that the Pole Line Road Bridge between US Hwy 52 and College Drive will be closed starting on Monday, June 14th.

Detour routes will be set up on North College Drive and Valley View Drive/5th Avenue.

The closure is to allow for removal and replacement of the bridge. The entire project is expected to last approximately three months.

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

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.



Yard Waste Reminders

No Yard Waste in Street, Yard Waste Site Extended Hours

Decorah, IA (April 1, 2021) – The City of Decorah is reminding residents that yard waste cannot be deposited in City streets or alleys. This includes leaves, grass clippings, branches, etc. The City’s annual leaf pickup program will take place in the fall.

With spring rains on the horizon, it is important to keep the streets and gutters clear of yard waste. Leaves, debris, and other yard waste like grass clippings can clog up storm sewer intakes and pipes which can lead to localized flooding.

For City of Decorah residents, yard waste can be taken to the City’s Yard Waste Site on Trout Run Road which is currently open seven days a week during daylight hours. Residents are reminded that only yard waste can be deposited at the City’s Yard Waste Site. Other items such as lumber, landscape fabric, flowerpots, or other waste is prohibited.

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


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 cityforester@decorahia.org. Additional information is also available on the Decorah Tree Board website at https://www.decorahia.org/tree-board.

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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Decorah Face Covering Ordinance

Friday, August 21st, the Decorah City Council approved the second reading and approved waiving the third reading of Ordinance 1257, An Ordinance Mandating The Use Of Face Coverings In Public Places Withing The City Limits Of The City Of Decorah, Iowa placing it for adoption. The ordinance was signed by the Mayor and published August 27th. As of August 27th, 2020 the ordinance is in effect.

Face Covering Ordinance and Frequently Asked Questions

Face Covering Ordinance Resources

The images below are provide for public use. Click on an image below to open a downloadable and printable PDF version.

Flood Insurance Rating Map (FIRM) Appeal Notification

FEMA has announced the beginning of a 90-day Flood Insurance Rating Map (FIRM) appeal process for the preliminary flood insurance maps.

The 90-day period began August 27, 2020. The City has issued an overview letter with FEMA appeal criteria. Any homeowner who believes the

preliminary maps to contain incorrect technical data are encourage to contact FEMA or the City to discuss the information and file any appeal.

Not every homeowner will be impacted by the new maps, but anyone who owns property in a flood zone should understand this information.

A copy of the Notification Letter and the Criteria for Appeals are linked below.

FEMA And Decorah FIRM Maps Appeal And Notification Letter August 28 2020 


Ordinance Mandating the use of Face Coverings in Public Places


Ordinance 1257, An Ordinance Mandating The Use Of Face Coverings In Public Places Withing The City Limits Of The City Of Decorah, Iowa

Mayor’s Statement regarding Ordinance 1257:

August 22, 2020

Friday, August 21st the Decorah City Council approved the second reading and approved waiving the third reading of Ordinance 1257, placing it for adoption. While the council voted 6-1 to approve the ordinance it will not go into effect until it is signed by the Mayor and published.

The use of face coverings, washing hands frequently, and/or use of hand sanitizer, avoiding large crowds, staying home when sick, and enjoying the outdoors distancing as needed, are in the best interest of health, safety and economic recovery. Until a vaccine is in place, these initiatives are the only means for being proactive in attempting to flatten the curve and potentially reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Decorah and surrounding areas are fortunate to be tourist and recreational destinations. Thousands of visitors come for enjoying recreational activities, the many shops and restaurants and breweries. We want these visitors to feel safe when they visit.

As area schools in the county open, and students return to Luther College and Northeast Iowa Community College, measures are needed to ensure safety for ongoing education. In addition, a proactive approach is necessary to insure continued economic return of local businesses. For these reasons, I am signing Ordinance 1257.

I understand that this is an extremely divisive issue and I will continue to reach out to community partners to develop promotional materials to ensure community awareness and encourages dialogue.

Moving forward, there needs to be guidelines, analysis, input, and conversation in order to determine the effectiveness of the ordinance.

In this unprecedented and challenging time, we have limited tools at our disposal and yet the stakes are higher than ever. Thank you for joining with your families, friends, and neighbors to support the health and well-being of our students, educators, local businesses, and our entire community by wearing face covering in public spaces.

/s/ Lorraine Borowski
Mayor, City of Decorah


The city council met on Friday, August 21 and approved Ordinance 1257, a face covering mandate for the City of Decorah. While the council voted 6-1 to approve the ordinance it will not go into effect until it is signed by the Mayor and published, this is anticipated to occur by the end of August. As of August 21, the mandate is not in effect.

City staff, including the Police Department are working through the ordinance to develop an administrative response and plan to support education and awareness of the ordinance as well as face covering and COVID personal protective measures.

Ordinance 1257, An Ordinance Mandating The Use Of Face Coverings In Public Places Withing The City Limits Of The City Of Decorah, Iowa

Iowa Census “Key to the Future” Challenge

Iowa Census Complete Count Committee launches “Key to the Future” challenge to increase 2020 Census response rates

Wed, 05/27/2020 – 12:15

The State of Iowa’s 2020 U.S. Census Complete Count Committee, formed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, chaired by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and vice-chaired by Secretary of State Paul Pate, is launching a “Key to the Future” response rate challenge for all of Iowa’s 942 cities and 99 counties to boost their 2020 Census response rates.

“From disaster relief to representation in Congress, the Census plays an important role in protecting Iowa’s future,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “Iowans take our civic responsibility seriously and I hope everyone will do their part and participate in the 2020 Census.”

The challenge is based on the 2020 Census Response Rate Map (2020Census.gov/response-rates(link is external)), which tracks self-response rates of households at the national, state, and local levels. As of May 25, 2020, Iowa has a response rate of 66.9 percent, with about 990,000 households responding. Iowa ranks No. 3, behind Minnesota (70 percent) and Wisconsin (67.4 percent) and just ahead of Michigan (66.7 percent) and Nebraska (66.5 percent).

“We are challenging every one of our cities and counties to help Iowa become No. 1 in response rates in the nation,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. “We want to count everyone in Iowa because the 2020 Census shapes our future. Census data impacts how we plan and how we make decisions every day.”

Census results inform how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services. The 2020 Census results will impact Iowa for the next 10 years.

Secretary of State Pate said, “Participating in the Census only takes a few minutes and it benefits your local community and the entire state of Iowa. Everybody wins by taking this challenge.”

Self-response rates measure households responding in one of three ways: Online at 2020Census.gov, by phone (1-844-330-2020), by mailing in paper questionnaires.

Iowa cities and counties are being challenged to meet these goals:

Tier 1 Cities: Populations up to 5,000 – to reach 100 percent count of households

Tier 2 Cities: Populations 5,001 to 50,000 – reach 2010 response rates PLUS 10 percent

Tier 3 Cities: Populations 50,001 and larger – reach 2010 response rates PLUS 10 percent

Iowa counties: Reach 2010 response rates PLUS 10 percent

The State of Iowa Complete Count Committee will recognize each city and county that joins the challenge to boost self-response rates of households in their city. The first city in each of the three tiers and the first county to reach their goals will be recognized with Key to the Future plaques. Each city and county that reaches its goal will receive recognition in news and social media announcements by the State of Iowa Complete Count Committee.

More information on the “Key to the Future” response rate challenge can be found by clicking here.