Macomb, IL – An attempt to shift 16 students into the Macomb school district will get another hearing before the regional school board. A circuit judge directed the petitioners to change their petitions to include the newly-formed Schuyler-Industry school district as part of their comparisons. He also said the original petitioners must sign the amended petition. The regional board approved the detachment in a hearing last summer. It also upheld its decision when the issue was remanded to it earlier. No date has been set for the third hearing.
Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk School District has recieved some interest in the Old Middle School property along Main Street. Local businessman Jon Warren has offered the district $200,000 for the nearly 2 blocks of property. Business Manager Greg Reynolds says Warren wants to turn the site into a recreational center. The school board has countered with an offer of $750,000, which is lower than the original price tag of nearly $865,000. School Board President Julia Logan says the district has to consider many factors when it sells this property.
Macomb, IL – Macomb City Administrator Mike Hays is recommending a hike in the telecommunications tax. Right now, the tax is 2%, but Hays believes it should be increased to 6%, which is the maximum allowed by the state. Hays says the city has made budget cuts for at least a decade. He thinks Macomb now needs to find more money in order to remain competitive with similar cities. Hays says Macomb faces rising costs for salaries, health insurance, and a host of other expenses. A 6% tax would generate $465,000 per year. The current 2% tax brings in $155,000.
Macomb, IL – Western Illinois University is now in a position to begin developing its new campus in the Quad Cities. The state says it will release more than $2 million to pay for the architectural and engineering plans for renovating the building on the site. The total cost of renovating the building is estimated to be around $15 million. The 20-acre riverfront site was donated to WIU by John Deere & Company. The new campus could eventually contain three buildings and serve at least 3,000 students. That's more than double the capacity at the current campus in the Quad Cities.
Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk City Council has begun work on the city's budget for next year. Early numbers show a $900,000 deficit in the general fund, which includes the police and fire departments. Mayor Dave Gudgel says one proposal before the council could trim that deficit, through several large fund transfers, to just over $90,000. He says no money has been budgeted, though, for capital items such as vehicles and equipment. That means every time the city council approves a capital request, the general fund deficit increases.
Canton, IL – Canton aldermen have hired a firm of outside environmental attorneys in an attempt to get the site of the former International Harvester plant cleaned up. Mark Rothert, the city's economic developer, says the attorneys will negotiate with International Truck and Engine, the succcessor firm to the agricultural implement plant. The 33-acre site has been cleared, but has a variety of hazardous materials still in the soil. It is considered a state Brownfield site.
Fort Madison, IA – Some of Lee County's elected leaders could be in line for a pay increase. The Lee County Compensation Board is recommending the County Attorney, Auditor, Recorder, Sheriff, and Treasurer recieve a 3.5% pay hike. The panel is also recommending no pay increase for the Board of Supervisors. Compensation Board member Jim Dennis says the board based the 3.5% figure on the union contract for the upcoming fiscal year. The compensation board tossed around both lower and higher figures, but eventually settled on the 3.5%.
Macomb,IL – State Representative Rich Myers (R-Colchester) says he'll be working to make sure funding is not cut for higher education in the next fiscal year. Myers is a member of the Higher Education Appropriations Committee in the House. He says it's important to increase funding for colleges and universities because their budgets were held flat the past couple years and were cut for a couple years before that. Myers also wants to make sure adequate funding is available for K-12 education and for agencies that help seniors, the developmentally disabled, and those who are mentally ill.