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Keokuk City Council

Keokuk is putting more money into tourism efforts as the city council has agreed to boost funding for the Convention and Tourism Bureau by $7,000. The increase would bring the total for the current fiscal year to $140,000. Tourism Director Kirk Brandenberger requested the increase based on Keokuks last fiscal year being its best ever when it comes to hotel-motel tax revenue. He says the tax generated $276,000, which is up from the projected total of $260,000. Brandenberger says the additional...

A development project in downtown Keokuk is facing a financial penalty from the city. The former Eagles building, which is located at the corner of 4 th and Blondeau Streets, is being renovated for commercial and residential use. The project requires the replacement of an older, 1 water line with a new 2 line, with the connection being made beneath Blondeau Street. That is an issue as city code allows Keokuk to impose a penalty of up to $1,000 because crews will be cutting into a street that...

Keokuk residents and businesses will pay more for sewer services as the city council has finalized a vote to increase the monthly rate effective August 1. The commercial rate will increase by 3% while the residential rate will go up 5%. Mayor Tom Marion says the commercial rate increase is smaller because Keokuk wants to remain competitive for businesses and industries. The city says the minimum monthly charge for a residence will now be $24.25. Marion says the federal government is forcing...

Keokuk could have a new police chief in place by the end of the week. Mayor Tom Marion is recommending Administrative Captain Dave Hinton for the post. Hinton has been with the Keokuk Police Department for more than 20 years. Marion says Hinton stood out from the other five candidates, who are also members of the department. He had the most experience and he has been to the F.B.I. Academy, says Marion. He has had many classes and has experienced the opportunity of being administrator for the ...

Jason Parrotts guest is Keokuk Police Chief Tom Crew. They talk about Crews upcoming retirement and his 25 year career in law enforcement. Crew describes his time with the Keokuk Police Department as a great ride filled with good friends and fond memories. He says he is grateful that he found a career where it was never a burden to have to go in to work. Crew says that will make it more difficult, though, to walk out of his office for that final time. I am going to go through a transition...

Safety and liability concerns led the city of Keokuk to replace the original Rocket Slide in Kilbourne Park with a newer model several years ago. There were aspects of the original slide that no longer met federal standards. Nels Olson of Wisconsin bought the Rocket Slide in the hopes of restoring it and installing the slide on his own property. With that, people in Keokuk seemed to lose track of the slide, until it ended up on the reality television show, American Restoration. The program...

It will soon cost a little more to own a cat or a dog in Keokuk as the city council has agreed to increase the cost of the annual license. Owners currently pay $5/animal each year. The cost of the license will increase to $10 on July 1 if the animal is spayed or neutered. A three-year license would also be available for $25. Mayor Tom Marion says the license would increase to $25 for one year and $65 for three years if the animal is unaltered. They have not been raised in quite some time,...

The Keokuk City Council must decide how the city should pay for some highly-anticipated street work. Keokuk replaced some sewer lines around Wells-Carey Elementary about two years ago. The project required crews to tear up several streets to do the work. Keokuk did not immediately replace them, though, because the sewer needed time to settle. Gravel was added for the time being, but that has led to plenty of complaints from residents about dust. The city has received three bids to replace...

Thursday nights Keokuk City Council meeting had a feeling of Christmas as aldermen opened the boxes containing their new iPads. The city spent more than $6,000 to purchase the devices for the nine city council members along with the Mayor, City Clerk, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Public Works Director, and Community Development Director. The iPads are for the specific position or office-holder, not the individuals. There is a device for the 3 rd Ward Alderman, not for Ron Payne, for example....

Keokuk could get some financial help from some of its employees. The citys current contract with the firefighters union runs out June 30, 2013. It is the only contract in place for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012. Keokuk is currently in negotiations with the unions representing police officers, employees at the wastewater treatment plant, and the general union, which includes parks, streets and cemeteries. The firefighters are offering to give up the 3% raise its members are in-line...

Keokuk has started talking about developing its own multi-sport complex. The discussions began with a request to upgrade Rees Park. Mayor Tom Marion says the idea is to prepare the park for softball games or practices. We will put the fencing back up and we will disc the infield, says Marion. We will also bring some clay sand and put it on the infield and fix the bleachers. The city council reached a consensus to proceed with the project, which could cost several thousand dollars. Afterwards,...

Keokuk is ready to do something about the former Flowers by Daryl building at 707 Main Street. Code Enforcement Officer Kathie Mahoney says a majority of the buildings exterior is in good shape, but she says the rear portion of the structure is basically gone. The city has received one bid of just under $8,700 to repair the building. Mayor Tom Marion says Keokuk does not want to see another vacant Main Street lot. Its in the middle of the block, says Marion, so if you take it down, you are...

Time is of the essence when it comes to a multi-million dollar project at the Keokuk Municipal Airport. The city council has awarded the contract for resurfacing the airports 5500 ft. runway to Shipley Contracting out of Burlington. The companys bid of just under $3.8 million came in roughly $1-million below original estimates. The city received three bids but did not consider one of them. The federal government was on track to cover 95% of the cost of the project with the city coming up with...

Keokuk could have a buyer for three pieces of prime, Main Street real estate. The city shut down the Keokuk Saddle Club in 2004 to allow for the construction of the Hampton Inn along Main Street. That project resulted in four additional, unsold lots. They have sat vacant since the hotel was completed, except for a large For Sale sign. Mayor Tom Marion says the organization, Goodwill Industries , has approached the city through a local realtor about purchasing three of the lots. Marion says...

Keokuk could make it easier for downtown properties to be developed. Fire Chief Gabe Rose says city code requires sprinkler systems be added to a downtown building if it is renovated for mixed use. Mixed use generally refers to commercial/retail business on the first floor and residential units on the upper level. Rose is proposing a change that would provide an exemption to the sprinkler system requirement for certain buildings. He says other safety features would have to be in place, such...

The Keokuk City Council is ready to take the leap and go paperless. The panel has reached a consensus to purchase 13 iPad 2s for use during meetings. City Clerk Barb Barnes says they should cost about $400 each, so the total price tag would be about $5,200. The 13 iPads would be provided to each of the nine city council members along with Barnes, Mayor Tom Marion, Community Development Director Pam Broomhall and Public Works Director Mark Bousselot. 1 st Ward Alderman Mike OConnor says the...

There is some apprehension among members of the Keokuk City Council when it comes to supporting the local hospital. Keokuk Area Hospital continues to face an uncertain future due to its financial instability. The hospital says it is reimbursed about 75% of the money spent on care and services. That is due to a number of factors, including a large number of low income clients and the formula for state and/or federal reimbursements. Lee County has already agreed to contribute $100,000 to Keokuk...

The Keokuk City Council has agreed to sell roughly 4,000 square feet of space behind City Hall to a group affiliated with Main Street Keokuk for $750. The land will allow for the construction of private garages for the high-end apartments proposed for the former Eagles building. Mayor Tom Marion says the city will maintain control of a small portion of the land. We are still keeping, basically it says trading, but we are keeping three spaces, says Marion, at the end near 4 th Street. We want...

Several members of the Keokuk City Council are looking for some compensation for its generosity in regards to a new ordinance. The panel has approved the first reading of an ordinance providing a special encroachment for Roquette America. The company would be able to build its own road on an unused portion of Railroad Street between F Street and H Street once the ordinance is approved. Aldermen Mike OConnor (Ward 1), Michael Moore (Ward 2) and John Helenthal (At Large) each said they had been...

The Keokuk City Council is ready to do some spring cleaning. Susan Dunek represents the citys 7 th ward. She says the month of March is a good time to start sprucing up Keokuks appearance. Dunek says a drive around the city will reveal areas the city can quickly address, such as lining up concrete strips in parking lots and straightening street signs and markers. I think we have just fallen out of the habit of seeing these things, says Dunek, and I just want people to begin to observe and...

The Keokuk City Council is proceeding with a multi-million dollar infrastructure project. The Keokuk Municipal airport has two runways. The length of one is 5,500 feet while the other is 3,800 feet. The city is looking to resurface the longer runway as early as this summer. Airport Manager Greg Gobble says the work would be done in shifts to allow the airport to remain open. The Federal Aviation Administration must review the plans because the height of the runway increasing by 6 could impact...

The Keokuk City Council will play catch-up when it comes to some capital projects. Mayor Tom Marion says the city could not afford to purchase new vehicles or replace some heavy equipment in the current budget. He says that will not be repeated in the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Marion says the age and condition of Keokuks vehicle fleet dictate spending nearly $2-million. He says the city will try to obtain credit from local banks to pay for the capital expenses. As you use...

The Keokuk City Council needs more information before acting on a rezoning request for a local business. Saint Louis Gear Company would like to move its operations from Royal Road to the Faith Family Church along Main Street. President Dan Hodges says his company has outgrown its current plant and he does not want to have to move outside of the city. Keokuk is my hometown and I want to continue to try to build jobs in Keokuk, says Hodges. The move would require about 5.5 acres of land be...

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion says the city council needs to reach a decision, soon, on whether to rebuild about 12 blocks of Grand Avenue. He says the design work is complete so the next step is to put the project out for bid so work could begin this year. Marion says moving ahead with Grand Avenue will not impact the surfacing of several streets around Wells-Carey Elementary School. These streets have been gravel for more than a year to allow some subterranean sewer work to settle. Keokuk...

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