Burlington, IA – The Burlington School District is working to find a site for a proposed new middle school. Business Manager Chris Van Meter says the district hopes to purchase a couple of acres of land along Sunnyside Avenue for about $150,000. The board could vote on the purchase Monday. Van Meter says the land would eventually be used to build a new middle school. Last May, fire destroyed Horace Mann Middle School. After that, Van Meter says the district decided to operate just two middle schools, Oak Street and James Madison.
Fort Madison, IA – City leaders in Fort Madison say if the Lee County Board of Supervisors creates one county seat, the seat should be in their city. The city council has approved a resolution filled with reasons why it feels Fort Madison would be the best site for the county seat. Mayor Steve Ireland says the city needed to speak up before the Board of Supervisors took action. The resolution goes much furture than a measure recently adopted in Keokuk.
Nauvoo, IL – Production of blue cheese in Nauvoo could begin in about one month. Plans to build a factory on the site of the Baxter Winery were stalled by zoning issues and concerns from neighbors. Spokesman Bob Hopp says the group negotiated an agreement to stay within an existing building for its artisan cheese production. He says any expansion will be done on another site. Hopp has begun remodeling the building, which once housed a gift shop and a glass blower. The firm will also line up the production equipment. He says the firm is contracting for a milk supply.
Fort Madison, IA – Property taxes could be on the rise in Fort Madison. The city council has approved the city's preliminary spending plan for next year. The proposed budget includes a 19 cent increase to the city's property tax rate. City Manager Bill Kelly says the cost of health insurance and other employee benefits prompted the need to raise the tax. He says the spending in the budget is really tight. Kelly says the spending plan includes no layoffs or program cuts... but does contain fee increases and large fund transfers.
Macomb, IL – The Macomb Board of Education is facing some tough decisions. A representative from a financial planning company told the board that the district's year-end balance is projected to drop in each of the next five years. Steven Miller of PMA Financial also said that by 2011 the district could be more than $5 million in the red. Miller said the board might be forced to evaluate staffing levels because of the drop in money and a drop in enrollment. He said nearly 60% of the school budget pays salaries and another 15% is spent on benefits.
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen will have a bit more money to work with in the city's next budget. The city council voted 6-0 Tuesday night to hike the telecommunications tax from 2% to 4%. Fifth ward alderman Tim Lobdell was absent from the meeting. Macomb will begin receiving the extra tax money in August. The city estimates the tax will provide it with an additional $116,250 next fiscal year. Mayor Mick Wisslead says the money will go into the city's general fund. It will help fill some holes in the next budget, which goes in effect May 1.