Mitchell supervisors propose meeting with Mennonites to try to find steel wheel compromise
OSAGE, Iowa - A week after the Mitchell County Supervisors discussed hiring a private investigator to catch Mennonite farmers who drive steel wheel tractors on hard surface roads in violation of the county's road protection ordinance, the board...
OSAGE, Iowa - A week after the Mitchell County Supervisors discussed hiring a private investigator to catch Mennonite farmers who drive steel wheel tractors on hard surface roads in violation of the county's road protection ordinance, the board proposed meeting to work out a compromise.
"Someone said to me why doesn't the board make a proposal to sit down and talk, but we want somebody from 'The Church' out East to be at that meeting," said Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk at last week's board meeting. "We need someone in authority to be at that meeting so if Mitchell County proposes a compromise, they can say, 'No, the church isn't willing to do that,' or 'Yes, the church is willing to consider that.'
One of the options is that when farmers are harvesting crops or hauling vegetables to the market, they be allowed to run rubber tires on their tractors, but the rest of the year they use steel wheels. I think that's a reasonable compromise. But we need someone from out East to say they'll change that rule."
Groffdale Conference Old Order Mennonites drive tractors with steel wheels rather than rubber tires.
"When I heard this, I thought it was probably a good idea, but my feelings are that we need someone with authority in the church who sets policy, otherwise it will probably be for naught," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Joel Voaklander.
Daniel Zimmerman, a Groffdale Mennonite, told supervisors that sitting down together to find a compromise is a good idea. He said he would talk to members of his church and bring more information to the next meeting.
Zimmerman said after the meeting he was surprised by the offer. He said he'll get hard answers from his church before the next meeting.
"We've been asking to sit at the table for long time," Zimmerman said. "Any time we can work out our problems, it's better than having law men sit on each side."
The idea to seek out a private investigator came up two weeks ago when the county engineer reported that a steel wheel tractor had damaged a newly surfaced road on 320th St. He brought a box of broken concrete pieces to the meeting.
The private investigator was briefly discussed last week, but no action was taken since Stan Walk couldn't attend the meeting.