Keokuk City Council

Thursday night’s 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 3rd Ward Alderman, not for Ron Payne, for example.

Keokuk could get some financial help from some of its employees.

The city’s current contract with the firefighter’s 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 for come July 1.

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.

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 building’s 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.

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 airport’s 5500 ft. runway to Shipley Contracting out of Burlington.

The company’s 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.

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.

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.

The Keokuk City Council is ready to take the leap and go paperless.  The panel has reached a consensus to purchase 13 iPad 2’s 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.

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.

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 4th Street.  We want to maintain what they do not need for city parking spaces.”

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.

Sprucing Up Keokuk

Mar 9, 2012

The Keokuk City Council is ready to do some spring cleaning.

Susan Dunek represents the city’s 7th ward.  She says the month of March is a good time to start sprucing up Keokuk’s 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.

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 agency’s equipment.

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 Keokuk’s 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.

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 rezoned for industrial use.

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