Keokuk Taking Time on Franchise Fee
Keokuk will take its time when it comes to possibly implementing a franchise fee.
The city is considering a 1% franchise fee on electric services to replace the 1% local option sales tax already in place.
Cities receive all of the revenue from a franchise fee but just a portion from the sales tax.
Mayor Tom Marion says residents will not notice the difference, but businesses and industries will because aspects of their daily operations that are exempt from the local option sales tax would not be exempt from a franchise fee.
He says Keokuk will not rush the process because it does not want to tax them out of business.
Marion says the city could return some of the money collected to reduce the impact on businesses and industries.
He says Keokuk wants to make sure every detail is considered, especially after watching similar attempts fail in Burlington and Fort Madison.
Marion first proposed the idea of a franchise fee during his 2013 State of the City address.
Keokuk will get some help in improving its employee safety program.
The city council has agreed to hire Safety and Personnel Resources out of Davenport, Ia to work with the city for two years starting April 1.
The firm will specifically look at completing a detailed risk assessment and establishing an accident review committee for the city, among other actions.
This is expected to cost the city about $30,000 over the two years.
MAIN STREET EXTENSION
Keokuk wants to remain a Main Street community.
The city has agreed to an extension of its agreement with the Iowa Department of Economic Authority and Main Street Keokuk through June 30, 2016.
It has also agreed to support the program both financially and philosophically.
Keokuk has been a Main Street community for nearly 30 years.
The city council has reached a consensus to give the hospital $100,000 to use as a local match for more federal money.
This comes after the Lee County Board of Supervisors rejected a similar request.
Finance Committee Chairman Roger Bryant says Keokuk has to provide the money because there are several hundred jobs on the line.
"Plus if you ever want to encourage industry or anything to come in here, that is one of the things they look at, do you have a hospital," says Bryant. "It's an asset that we cannot let go."
The money will likely come from the city’s railroad bridge demolition fund, which worried several aldermen along with whether this would be an annual request.
A formal vote could occur early next month.