WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fort Madison

The city of Fort Madison is going to take its turn in trying to secure funding for a proposed sports complex.

The city has already pledged $500,000 over the next two years to the construction of three football/soccer fields and three baseball/softball diamonds.

The city council will write a letter to the Lee County Board of Supervisors to try to encourage the county to increase its contribution of $3,000 over three years.

Mayor Brad Randolph asked for the letter to be placed before the council.

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.

Fort Madison’s proposed sports complex has received another piece of bad news from the state.

Supporters traveled to Mason City to make a second pitch to the Vision Iowa Board for funding.  The task force promoting the sports complex is seeking up to $1-million to add to the $2.5-million dollars generated through public and private donations.

Unfortunately for the task force, the request for state funding was denied by an oversight committee for the Vision Iowa Board.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors has decided against increasing the county’s contribution to a proposed sports complex in western Fort Madison.

The panel had previously agreed to provide a letter of support for the project along with all of the county’s hotel/motel tax revenue for the project. 

That sounds much better than it looks on paper, though, as Lee County generates less than $1,000 a year from that tax.

The new mayor of Fort Madison could be in place before the end of the month. 

The Fort Madison City Council has decided to appoint someone to replace former Mayor Steve Ireland, as opposed to holding a special election.

Steve Ireland, 53, passed away at Fort Madison Community Hospital last month.

City Manager Byron Smith says the appointment is expected to be made during the city council’s April 17 meeting.  He says the details of the appointment process have not be laid out, but he says interested residents are encouraged to contact City Hall.

The Fort Madison City Council could soon make a decision as to how it will fill an unexpected vacancy.  The vote could come as early as Tuesday night.

City Manager Byron Smith says Fort Madison has two options.  It could appoint someone to replace former Mayor Steve Ireland or to hold a special election.

Ireland died on March 20 at the age of 53 in Fort Madison Community Hospital.  He had entered hospice care just prior to his death.

Fort Madison Mayor Steve Ireland, 53, died Tuesday, March 20 at 1:54 P.M. at Fort Madison Community Hospital.

Ireland's family will receive friends on Friday, March 23 from 4:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the King-Lynk Funeral Home and Crematory in Fort Madison.

The funeral service will be held Saturday, March 24 at 10:00 A.M. at the First Baptist Church in Fort Madison.  Burial will be held at the Claypoole Cemetery in Wever, IA.

Former Fort Madison Police Officer William Bowker will not be returning to the department.  He was fired by City Manager Byron Smith on Feb. 25, 2010.

Smith cited various acts of misconduct.  They include falling asleep and/or missing phone calls while serving on the Southeast Iowa Narcotics Task Force and having an affair with the wife of Police Chief Bruce Niggemeyer.

Bowker appealed the ruling to the Fort Madison Civil Service Commission.  That panel sided with the city in mid-2010, prompting Bowker to sue the city and the commission in district court.

Supporters of a proposed sports complex in western Fort Madison have received some good news from the state.

Tim Gobble with Fort Madison Partners says more than $2-million has been pledged or donated to build three baseball/softball diamonds and three football/soccer fields.

That includes $1.25-million from Fort Madison’s branch of the Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission, $500,000 from the city, and $175,000 from Pinnacle Foods.

That’s more than 60% of what is needed for the project to move forward.

LEE COUNTY

The Lee County Board of Supervisors and the union representing employees of the Sheriff’s Office have each signed off on a new two year employment contract.

The deal includes a 3%wage increase on July 1and a 1.5%increase on July 1, 2013.

It also changes holiday pay calculations,requires quicker use of vacation time and increases deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums related to health insurance.

The new contract runs through June 30, 2014.

 

FORT MADISON - SCHOOL

Fort Madison residents can weigh in on the city’s spending plan next week.

A public hearing and the initial city council vote on the $25-million spending plan are scheduled for Tuesday, February 21.

City Manager Byron Smith says the budget could be considered status quo.

“I would not say bare-bone, but it is kind of basic for what we are doing,” says Smith.  “We did not propose any major staffing increases or decreases.”

Smith says money is available for employee raises and to expand nuisance enforcement.

Fort Madison is moving ahead with a proposed rental inspection program.  City Manager Byron Smith says the idea is to make sure apartments, duplexes and rental homes are safe.

He says inspectors could look for smoke detectors, malfunctioning doors and windows and overloaded electrical outlets, among other items.

Smith says the program would also address a key need for cities like Fort Madison.

Pages