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Keokuk Exploring Government Changes

Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk City Council is exploring changes to the city's current form of government. Residents would have a say, though, in any changes.

At-Large Alderman Doug Matlick has said the city council should look to reduce its membership from nine to seven by eliminating two wards. He says the best time to make such a move would be after the 2010 census, especially if Keokuk sees a loss in population.

Lee County Auditor Anne Pedersen says that would require more than council approval. "The council would, first of all, have to receive a petition from the residents of the city of Keokuk," says Pedersen, "and then the city council would have to put to a vote of the people at a special election."

Pedersen says it is her understanding that it must be a special election, as opposed to adding it to a general election ballot. She says that would require more research as the city moves forward.

Pedersen says the reduction could save the city money because it would only need to hold elections in five wards and pay seven salaries.

Another proposal is to extend the mayor's term in office from two to four years. It was brought up, this time around, by 4th Ward Alderman Roger Bryant.

The panel has considered the change, as well as making the post part-time, multiple times in recent years.

Pedersen says that move would also require a vote of the residents of Keokuk.

The Keokuk City Council has not indicated when they might discuss the two issues in more detail. A brief discussion took place, during the recent council workshop, about the hiring of a city administrator, but gained no traction.