A quick look at news from around the tri-states region.
VAN BUREN COUNTY
Contract talks have begun between Van Buren County and two employee unions.
The sheriff's department is seeking $2/hour wage increases, paid fitness center memberships and extra money for equipment and uniforms.
Employees in the secondary roads department wants raises of $1.50/hour, compensation for county use of a personal cell phone and more longevity pay.
The county countered both initial proposals with requests for wage freezes, higher costs for health insurance and the elimination of sick leave payouts.
The current contracts run through June 30, 2014.
DES MOINES COUNTY
Rural Des Moines County residents can do some spring cleaning, in the fall, at the county’s expense.
The county is covering tipping fees at the Des Moines County Landfill and Recycling Center through December 9, 2013 or until the money runs out.
Acceptable items include lawn mowers, metal fencing, sofas, rugs, tables and certain household appliances.
Participants must provide a proof of residence at the landfill.
WEST BURLINGTON, IA
The Southeastern Community College Board of Trustees has approved five goals for 2014.
Two are considered internal as members want to review and update board policies and encourage each other to attend at least one Association of Community Colege Trustee meetings.
The remaining three are more public in nature.
The trustees want to improve communication and working relationships with local businesses and industries and with local school districts.
They also want to try to keep tuition increases at a minimum.
Absentee ballots are now available for the December 3 run-off elections in Keokuk and Fort Madison.
A polling place is open during regular business hours in the north Lee County office building in Fort Madison.
A similar site in the south Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk will be open as well.
Incumbent Ron Payne and Richard Moore are on the ballot in Keokuk’s 3rd ward while in Fort Madison, incumbent Neal Boeding and Rusty Andrews are seeking an at-large alderman seat.