WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fertilizer Plant Meeting Likely

Oct 9, 2012

Lee County now knows some of the concerns residents have about the production plant Iowa Fertilizer Company plans to build near Wever.

Lori Beckert lives between Wever and Fort Madison.  She attended the Lee County Board of Supervisors meeting on Oct. 2 for one reason.

Beckert asked the board for a special meeting in Wever about the fertilizer plant so residents and future neighbors can get answers to their questions.

The supervisors said they wanted to see a list of questions/topics for the meeting before they would set a time/date/location.

Beckert returned during Monday’s meeting with a lengthy list of questions on a wide variety of topics: pollution, traffic, money, infrastructure and foreign relations.

She was followed by Kristen Brookhiser of Wever, who made her own plea for a meeting and gave the supervisors about two dozen questions of her own.

Supervisor Gary Folluo says he’s not surprised by the questions, given the fact that such a large industry will be coming to such a rural area.

He says, at first glance, some of the questions will be easy for the board to answer while others will be difficult.

Folluo anticipates the board asking Iowa Fertilizer Company to provide a spokesperson/representative to answer some of the operations-related questions. 

Beckert and Brookhiser encouraged the supervisors to hold the meeting before Election Day so residents can be fully informed when they cast their ballots.

Chairperson Janet Fife-LaFrenz told them the county would start working on a time, date and location in Wever for the meeting.


Meanwhile, Lee County appears to have settled on a plan for divvying up some money coming in from the fertilizer plant.

Iowa Fertilizer Company will pay the county $16,350,000 over 20 years in lieu of property taxes on the proposed plant near Wever.

Fife-LaFrenz says the Board wants to distribute the money based on how the property taxes are currently divided for the land in question to make things fair.

The current plan calls for the Fort Madison School District to receive nearly 52% of the money over the 20 years while the county would get about 41%.

The rest would be split between the Lee County Assessor’s Office, Southeastern Community College and the Wever Fire Department.

The board was going to vote on the proposal this week, but held off so it could hear back from the County Attorney on whether any other agencies are eligible for the money.

This money would be on top of the property tax revenue that will continue to come in from the land where the plant will be built.