Lee County To Continue Negotiations

Fort Madison, IA – Lee County has a little "breathing room" as it faces the possible loss of a transmission tower used for the county's E-911 system.

The Iowa Attorney General's office, through an email to County Attorney Mike Short, says Iowa Public Television and the Northeast Missouri group that owns the land under IPTV's tower have agreed to a lease extension. The two sides had previously been deadlocked over the county's possible use of condemnation on the property along Highway 2.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Folluo says the extension gives the county a couple months to negotiate with both sides. He says the county can also explore other options.

The Lee County Sheriff's Department plans to call their counterparts in Des Moines and Henry Counties to see if they have available tower space near the northern county lines. They will also speak with the owners of several water towers in central Lee County.

Chairman Gary Folluo says using cell phone towers for the E-911 equipment is not feasible, given the nature of cell phone frequencies.

The Highway 2 tower is crucial to E-911 services. Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Cirinna says without it, no emergency dispatch service would be available in Lee County.

LeaseThe Lee County Board of Supervisors will allow one of its buildings to be rented for weekly meetings.

The county provides local seniors with two buildings for social gatherings: The Newberry Center in Fort Madison and the Heritage Center in Keokuk. A request has come in to rent the first floor of the Newberry Center for Sunday morning meetings.

The Board has agreed to rent the facility for $400/month + $100 damage deposit. A rental contract would also be required.

The top floor of the Newberry Center is rented to several labor organizations for $200/month. Chairman Gary Folluo says the labor groups pay less because they are under a long term contract and there would not be much use for the top floor.

The request has prompted the supervisors to look into whether other groups are being charged for using the buildings. If it is taking place, the board wants to know where the money is going.

Other ActionDuring the July 14 meeting, the Lee County Board of Supervisors also
* Honored Helen Fowler for 25 years of service to the county.
* Approved the paperwork needed to implement a new flexible benefits plan for employees.
* Found out the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard could be involved in resolving water run-off issues in unincorporated Lee County.