Keokuk is putting more money into tourism efforts as the city council has agreed to boost funding for the Convention and Tourism Bureau by $7,000.
The increase would bring the total for the current fiscal year to $140,000.
Tourism Director Kirk Brandenberger requested the increase based on Keokuk’s last fiscal year being its best ever when it comes to hotel-motel tax revenue.
He says the tax generated $276,000, which is up from the projected total of $260,000.
Brandenberger says the additional money will be used to expand marketing efforts into St. Louis and Kansas City.
Alderman Ron Payne voted against the increase in funding
He said the $7,000 could have been better spent on sidewalks, sewers or Oakland Cemetery.
DEPARTMENT HEAD SALARIES
The city council has addressed some salary and benefit questions surrounding a couple of its department heads.
The panel says Fire Chief Gabe Rose should receive the same $500 incentive as the rest of the department if Rose maintains his hazardous material certification.
It also decided that new Police Chief Dave Hinton will receive the same 1.4% raise as other non-union workers. The raise is for the position, not the person, as Hinton received a $10,000+ increase in salary due to his promotion from Administrative Captain.
The city council’s final action was to pro-rate former Police Chief Tom Crew’s request for his annual uniform allowance, since he worked until July 6. Crew is expected to receive about $18.
The renovation of a building in downtown Keokuk will cost a little more money.
The city council has authorized the installation of a new, 2” water line for the former Eagles building at the intersection of 4th and Blondeau Streets.
Before crews can cut into Blondeau Street, though, the backers of the project must pay the city $1,000.
The payment is required because of a city code dealing with cutting into newer streets.
Main Street Keokuk’s Joyce Glasscock says supporters are OK with the payment.
But she worries about it being called a “penalty” in the city council-approved resolution.
“Please consider your language when you are doing it,” says Glasscock, “because when I am a developer from out of town, or even in town, and I come in and ‘I am getting a fine, a penalty for improving property in this community.’ It is just that an assessment sounds a little better.”
The city council left the “penalty” language in the resolution.
The payment must be made to the city before an excavation permit is issued.
The resolution also requires the street be replaced according to Iowa Department of Transportation specifications.
TRAFFIC SIGNAL REMOVAL
The Keokuk City Council has started the process of removing two sets of traffic signals near Wells Carey Elementary.
They will be replaced with stop signs on 9th Street at its intersection with Timea Street and on Timea Street at its intersection with 10th Street.
The signals are no longer needed as the school has been closed.
Public Works Director Mark Bousselot says some of the parts from the traffic signals could be used in other locations in Keokuk.
The addition of the stop signs must still be approved two more times.
The city council has agreed to pay the owner of a gravel road leading to the city’s former landfill $500 to help cover the cost of recent maintenance.
Kurt Glasscock says he usually pays to resurface the road, upfront, before asking for help from his neighbors.
Aldermen said, on top of the $500 payment, the city should update its easement to use the road to allow for more regular payments.
The city council will start holding its business meetings one hour earlier.
The business meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month.
As of August 2nd, they will begin at 6:30 P.M. with a workshop starting at 5:30 P.M.
The meetings on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month will remain at 4:30 P.M.