2013 in Southeast Iowa
This week on Emphasis, Jason Parrott’s guests are Lee County Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Larkin, Des Moines County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Broeker and Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion.
They talk about their goals for 2013.
Rick Larkin was elected Lee County Board of Supervisors Chairman after serving as Vice Chairman in 2012. He has led the board on about a half-dozen other occasions during his 15 years of service.
Larkin said, in his opinion, the hard work of the board in 2012 has the county poised for success in 2013.
“The (office) consolidation allowed us to regroup some money that we had saved,” said Larkin, “and with this new factory coming in near Wever, eventually it will provide some additional funds for us. I think the future looks pretty rosy for the board.”
Larkin expects another tight budget for Lee County, but he does not expect to see a massive amount of cuts needed to balance the spending plan.
“We will have to sit down and see how much money we actually have, what we can accomplish, and what is most important,” said Larkin. “From that point on, we can decide which needs must be done and proceed with that.”
Larkin said he will meet, later this month, with representatives of the Lee County Conservation and Health Departments to discuss their fundraising for a joint building.
He had previously suggested a January First deadline to raise $500,000.
“The Board may consider extending the amount of time they had or we may look at other options.”
Tom Broeker will serve as Chairman of the Des Moines County Board of Supervisors for a second consecutive year.
He said he is proud of the fact that he will continue to lead the panel.
“I am glad I have the confidence of the other members of the board,” said Broeker. “I have confidence in them as any of the three of us could do the job.”
Broeker believes Des Moines County has plenty to accomplish in 2013.
“We need a location for the Des Moines County Attorney’s office,” said Broeker, “it is currently in the Burlington Police Department and that building is ending its useful life. We have budget concerns and we don’t want to raise taxes.”
Broeker said the board will also keep an eye on what is going on in Des Moines, especially when it comes to the redesign of the mental health care system in Iowa.
“The problem with mental health redesign is they are not finished with it yet,” said Broeker, “and no one knows what to expect. We are also concerned with property tax reform and road funding.”
Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion is hopefully that 2013 means economic development for his city, starting with AMJET Turbine Systems and its three-year effort to develop a smaller water turbine system.
He said the city also plans to work closer with Keokuk Economic Development Corporation this year.
“There is a change in some of the leadership on KEDC this year,” said Marion, “so I think we can go out there (together). People don’t know about Keokuk so I can talk about incentives and what we can do to help them out. We have rail, we have air, we have water so we can do it all.”
Marion anticipates plenty of infrastructure improvements in 2013, including Grand Avenue and the continued separation of the city’s sanitary sewer system.
He also hopes to see a change in people’s attitudes towards their city.
“You have got to change the attitude of people in Keokuk,” said Marion. “I will be a cheerleader and I will do whatever I can to get people to make improvements in Keokuk. I am tired of people saying ‘we are never going to get anywhere.’ We need to do something.”