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.
Fort Madison, IA – Renovations to the Old Valley Clinic Building are costing Fort Madison a little more than anticipated. The building will eventually be the home of the new Fort Madison Public Library. City Manager Bill Kelly says contractors are working to remove all of the asbestos from the site. He says that process has cost the city more money than previously anticipated. Kelly says the original company that was contracted to locate all of the asbestos on site failed to find asbestos in two locations, so far, costing the city more than $6,000.
Macomb, IL – After more than 30 years of major project contracting, Hillyer's Incorporated in Macomb will cease operations once it finishes its current projects. Family members would not say more beyond a brief, released statement. In it they cited the increasing complexity of doing business with a highly politicized state government. State Representative Rich Myers of Colchester pointed to recent state regulations which make it difficult for local firms to offer good contracting jobs at prevailing wage rates to non-union workers.
Galesburg, lIL – Galesburg's chief economic development worker believes his successor will have an easier time of it than he has had. Eric Voyles is leaving for a similar job in Rockford. Shortly after he started the Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association five years ago, the town lost most of its manufacturing plants, including Admiral, Butler, National Steel and others. Voyles says developers must focus first on retention and only then can they attract manufacturing plants.
Keokuk, IA – A new value-added agricultural plant is on its way to Lee County. Tri-City Energy has announced its plan to build a bio-diesel plant and a soybean curshing facility in Keokuk. The more than $50,000,000 project will be completed in 3 phases and will create about 60 jobs. Tri-City Energy General Manager, John Rothgeb, says his group consists of 4 local investors. He says this project could be a chance for even more residents to invest in Keokuk and Southeast Iowa. Rothgeb says the project has been in the works for more than 2 years.
New Boston, IL – A bi-state group is working to re-establish ferry service between New Boston, Illinois and Oakville, Iowa. Terry Elliot chairs the Illowa Ferryboat and Development Corporation. He says the group has $360,000 in federal and state grants to begin studies. He says engineering and environmental studies could be underway within the year. Elliot says ferry service began at New Boston before the Civil War. The last ferry made its run in 1973. He says a feasibility study done three years ago showe re-establishing the service would boost tourism and business.
Macomb, IL – McDonough County Circuit Clerk Kim Wilson wants the county board to increase two fees that are added to court cases when they're filed. Wilson says shke's running out of space to store the 10,000 or more documents that are filed with her office every year. She wants to increase to $10 from $5 the automation fee and the document storage fee. The former is to help cover the cost of computers and networks needed to handle the office operations.