2014 State of the City - Keokuk
Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion sees 2014 as a year of progress.
The Mayor delivered his 5th State of the City address to a crowd of about 40 people during the February RAP breakfast.
The one thing I am proud of... is we have not cut services and we have not cut staff.
Marion started off by thanking the city council members and city employees in attendance before moving right into the budget.
He used a chart to show how the city's annual revenue from property taxes continues to fall.
Marion says that is not stopping city leaders from doing what is best for residents.
"The one thing I am proud of, and I think the city council should be along with everyone with the city," says Marion, "is we have not cut services and we have not cut staff. We have been doing a great job (with the budget)."
Marion says Keokuk has even been able to set aside additional money for capital expenses, such as police cars and a local match for a $500,000 facade grant for downtown Keokuk.
He also used his speech to talk about the need for residents to be more positive about the appearance of the city.
"I started driving on Main Street and tried to be independent thinking as someone coming into town would be," says Marion, "(and I thought), we are not an ugly city."
He says even though citizens see the faults and know the problems, people from outside of the city always enjoy their time and appreciate with the city has to offer.
Marion spent a majority of time talking about the construction projects underway: repairing the hillside near Rand Park, rebuilding Grand Avenue, the city-wide sewer separation project.
He says this shows the city is moving ahead and trying to improve itself.
Marion says he is also pleased with the direction the Keokuk Economic Development Corporation is taking, in particular in working with Lee County Economic Development Group to improve its online image.
He also used his 37-minute speech and question/answer session to renew his call for a new franchise fee on utility bills, to clarify his support for a city administrator, and to explain why the city is seeking to deal with an aging church.