Keokuk, IA – Keokuk's counter-offers to 2 unions do not include the pay hikes employees were seeking. The General Union, which includes employees from the bridge, parks, and streets departments, is seeking a 2-year deal with pay hikes of 6.5% and 6.0%. Employees at the Water Pollution Control Plant want a 3-year deal with an annual 6% across the board hike. The city has countered with a pair of 3-year contract proposals. Each deal calls for an annual 1.5% pay hike.
Keokuk, IA – Combining Lee County's 2 drivers license facilities could save the county some money. A state audit, released in January, shows that it costs Lee County more than $10 to issue a license, while being reimbursed for $7 by the state. THe county is exploring ways to make the service break even. Board Chairman George Morgan says at this point, the discussions do not call for the elimination of the program. Lee County's 2 facilities are each open 20 hours a week and staffed by 2 employees.
Macomb, IL – US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will be the number two person in the Senate when Democrats take control of the chamber in January. He visited Macomb this week as part of a statewide tour to talk about his party's goals. Durbin says one of the first priorities will be implementation of the 9-11 commission's recommendations. He says those recommendations were ignored by President Bush and congressional Republicans. Commission member and former Illinois governor Jim Thompson has said much the same - he wrote that progress in many important areas has been slow or nonexistent.
Carthage, IL – Carthage aldermen are working to find a way to augment their water supply. Alderman Gary Smith says the town's reservoir is as low as anyone has ever remembered, and the town is now getting most of its daily water usage through the pipeline from Hamilton. Smith says aldermen have the city's engineers investigating drilling a well and altering the treatment plant. He says they are also talking to state and federal agencies to find out what kind of assistance might be available to the town.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County's emergency plan is being expanded to include pets and livestock. ESDA director Dan Kreps says the suggestion to do so came from the US Department of Agiculture. He says the local plan will include places to move livestock in case of a natural disaster such as a tornado, but what should be done if a contagious livestock disease should turn up in the county. He says pets were included after some of the stories came about about abandoned pets in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Kreps says Dr. Karen Blakely is also working on the plan.
Keokuk, IA – Homeowners near Keokuk's Rand Park could get some state help in improving their properties. The city is applying for $315,000 from the state for an owner-occupied housing grant. The local match would be $20,000. Regional Planner, Jeff Hanan, says eligible homeowners must meet income requirements and their home must be located between 10th and 16th Streets, from High Street to Orleans Avenue. He says about a dozen properties, near Kaiser and Kilbourne Parks, were rehabbed using a similar grant several years ago.
Macomb, IL – Just a few months after one proposed student housing complex failed to generate community support in Macomb, another such plan is quickly encountering opposition. Developers shared their plans at Monday's city council meeting, which drew a standing room only crowd. The housing complex would be called University Village and would include more than 100 units west of Wigwam Hollow Road and south of Riverview Drive. Neighborhood residents oppose it. They say the site, which is currently used for agriculture, is zoned for single family homes.