Fort Madison City Council

Local contractors will handle a majority of the upcoming improvements to downtown Fort Madison.

The city secured a $500,000 state grant to improve the facades of 13 buildings.  The property owners will contribute another $170,000 to the project.

The city chose to seek bids per category of work as opposed to going project by project so one contractor would handle all windows and doors while another would do the masonry, for example.

Fort Madison is considering a plan to borrow millions of dollars to improve its infrastructure.

City Manager Byron Smith says a citizens’ survey was conducted last year. 

He says the results showed that residents are not happy with the quality of Fort Madison’s streets.

Smith says the city can only afford to make a few, small repairs to streets each year, so he is proposing a multi-million dollar infrastructure improvement program.

The proposal looks at what could be done from the city’s five-year capital improvement plan with $6-million. 

Fort Madison continues to clear the way for Amtrak to move its operations across town to the former Santa Fe Depot in Riverview Park.

The North Lee County Historical Society has a lease in place, through 2040, that allows it to use the complex for display and storage.

That agreement has now been amended.

City Manager Byron Smith says the historical society has agreed to relinquish the eastern 2/3 of the main building.  He says the organization will also make more space available if requested by Amtrak in the future.

Fort Madison is moving ahead with a plan to reorganize several departments.

Six veteran employees signed up to take advantage of the city’s early retirement program, which means they will be stepping down before the end of the calendar year.

City Manager Byron Smith says the group of retiring employees includes the heads of the water department, the public works department and the wastewater treatment plant.

He says the city will replace the three positions with one new public works director.

Fort Madison is moving ahead with a plan to reorganize several departments.

Six veteran employees signed up to take advantage of the city’s early retirement program, which means they will be stepping down before the end of the calendar year.

City Manager Byron Smith says the group of retiring employees includes the heads of the water department, the public works department and the wastewater treatment plant.

He says the city will replace the three positions with one new public works director.

Future mayors of Fort Madison could have more authority and input on city matters.

The city currently functions with a part-time mayor, a full-time city manager and seven city council members.

Two of the seven city council members are selected at large while the remaining five each represent one of Fort Madison’s five wards.

City Manager Byron Smith says the panel is exploring several potential changes to that current structure.

He says the discussions are based on one of the goals established during a goal-setting workshop held earlier this year.

Fort Madison wants to make it more enticing for rural property owners to join the city.

The city council has signed off on a series of incentives available to those interested in voluntarily annexing into the city.

City Manager Byron Smith says the incentives include the gradual phasing in of the city’s property tax rate and the possibility of offering a specific zoning designation for a property.

They also allow the city to cover certain legal expenses and reduce utility connection fees.     

The Fort Madison City Council has turned down an opportunity for some national recognition after voting against a proposal to have the city featured on the national television program, “Today in America.”

City Manager Byron Smith says the show’s production company contacted Fort Madison about producing a five-minute, “network-quality” feature on the city as a “hidden gem.”

The feature would have cost the city nearly $20,000.

Fort Madison is trying to organize and prioritize its future infrastructure needs.

City Manager Byron Smith says the city has not had a capital improvement plan since he arrived in January 2009.  He says city staff has been working on a five-year forecast for the last six months.

Smith says the wide-ranging document will cover a variety of projects, including streets, water lines, sewer projects, vehicles, and large-scale equipment.

The five-year capital improvement plan would include cost estimates and potential revenue sources for the projects.

Fort Madison plans to have its new rental property inspection program up and running by July.

City Manager Byron Smith says Fort Madison is finalizing the forms and documents related to the program.  It has already received city council approval.

Smith says letters will soon be sent to the owners of rental properties throughout the city.  He says it will inform them that property registration will get underway in July, with inspections to begin shortly afterwards.

Fort Madison residents should expect some good news and some bad news from the city when they go to their mailboxes this summer.

The city council has approved the first reading of an ordinance that would decrease the water basic charge by just over $1.00/month.  The average residential household will see a decrease of 4%.

Aldermen described that as the “good news” during its most recent meeting.

The savings are linked to favorable bids for the construction of the new water plant and several transmission mains.

A commonly-used incentive program for downtown development is advancing in Fort Madison.

The city council has approved the second reading of an ordinance that would create a new tax increment financing district.

A portion of the property taxes collected on buildings within a TIF district goes to infrastructure projects.  A baseline property value will be developed to determine the amount available for new sidewalks or streets.

The field of candidates for a vacant seat on the Fort Madison City Council continues to grow.

The opening was created by the resignation of Alderman At-Large Brad Randolph upon his appointment as Mayor.  He replaced Steve Ireland, who passed away last month.

Six men have applied for the position, including two former aldermen.

 

CANDIDATES

Former alderman Neil Boeding feels his experience on the city council would be a value as the panel continues to move the city in what he describes as a “positive direction.”

Fort Madison is moving ahead with the development of an inspection program for rental properties.

The city council has approved the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the housing code to allow for the inspections.  The program was identified as a priority during a recent city goal-setting session.

It would require every owner of a rental property to register their units with the city by November 1, 2012.  There would be a $25 fee for the 1st unit and $5 for each additional unit.

The city of Fort Madison has a new mayor as the city council appointed Alderman At-Large Brad Randolph to the post during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Randolph served as Mayor Pro Tem under former Mayor Steve Ireland, who passed away last month.  Randolph has been serving as mayor since then.

Randolph says he is both honored and humbled to be Fort Madison’s new mayor.  He says one of his top priorities will be to complete a project near and dear to Ireland’s heart: the renovation of the Santa Fe Depot Complex.

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