Des Moines, IA – Two Southeast Iowa cities will become "pilot" sites for a new state economic development program. The Iowa Department of Economic Development has selected Keokuk and Fort Madison to take part in the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit Program. Two cities in Western Iowa will also be in the program. State Represenative Phil Wise (D-Keokuk) says the selected cities will be able to offer a unique payroll-based financial incentive to qualifying businesses.

Macomb, IL – The McDonough County Board has approved its budget for the fiscal year beginning in December. Board Chairman Bob Harwick says it includes general fund spending of just over $4 million ... about the same as last year. He says it is more than bare-bones, but it further reduces the county's backlog of interfund loans that must be paid off. It does not include property tax relief paid for from the Public Safety Sales Tax, which caused Board Member Gary Sherer to cast the only dissenting vote. Sherer says the relief was promised to taxpayers as a condition of passing the tax.

November 16, 2006 – Jason Parrott talks to Lee County Board of Supervisors Chairman George Morgan and Lee County Sheriff Buck Jones.

Macomb, IL – Macomb's mayor is hoping for four more years in office. Mick Wisslead officially kicked off his reelection campaign Wednesday evening with a fundraiser that drew a large crowd. Wisslead says the biggest accomplishment during his first term was getting people to work together. He says this paid off with the NTN Bower plant expansion and with the additions of the Pella Corporation plant and the Schwan's distribution center. Wisslead says he remains enthused about Macomb and believes the city is on the move.

Fort Madison, IA – Lee County wants more answers before approving the use of a financial tool by a new industry. Fort Madison is in the process of expanding the use of tax increment financing districts, on the city's southwest side, to include the future home of Siemens Power Generation. The county must sign off on the plan because part of the land that will be included in the TIF district is outside city limits. The supervisors are not ready to do that, though, and have tabled the measure. Supervisor Larry Kruse says the board has concerns about the scope of the proposal.

Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison is a step closer to starting work on its new water plant. City Manager Larry Dinwiddie says Fort Madison has been testing wells at a site, west of the city, to determine if there is enough quality water available to build a new water plant. He says the tests are now complete and the city should know the results within the next month. Dinwiddie, who also serves as water superintendent, says it could be 2 1/2 years before the new $13,000,000 plant is completed.

Rushville, IL – The Schuyler County Board has joined the Rushville City Council in backing a proposed housing development. Illinois Community Action has expressed interest in building a number of single-family homes on the south edge of Rushville. City water and sewer lines are near the tracts being considered. County board chairman Brian Peak says the board's support makes the project eligible for some federal tax breaks. It also allows the non-profit group to seek grant money for a marketing study on the proposal.

Washington DC – Democrats in the US House will decide on Thursday who will serve as majority leader. Western Illinois' newly elected congressman has already announced who he will support. Phil Hare says he will back Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Hare says Hoyer campaigned for him and did a great job as the minority whip. Hoyer is being opposed by John Murtha of Pennsylvania. Hare, who is already in Washington for orientation sessions, says both are capable of doing a good job.

Keokuk, IA – The price for a large piece of Main Street property in Keokuk is falling. The Keokuk school board has agreed to drop the official asking price on the old middle school property from $862,500 to $750,000. The board has also agreed to allow the district's administrators to negotiate contracts with local realtors to determine commission rates and selling strategies. Board member Tyler McGhghy cast the only vote against setting the price at $750,000.