WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fort Madison Considers Changes

Aug 10, 2012

Future mayors of Fort Madison could have more authority and input on city matters.

The city currently functions with a part-time mayor, a full-time city manager and seven city council members.

Two of the seven city council members are selected at large while the remaining five each represent one of Fort Madison’s five wards.

City Manager Byron Smith says the panel is exploring several potential changes to that current structure.

He says the discussions are based on one of the goals established during a goal-setting workshop held earlier this year.

Smith says the goal is to move the mayor’s position away from being a ceremonial post.

“They just felt like this would be an opportunity to maybe attract more people to be interested in the mayor’s position,” says Smith, “and to give it a little bit more function with the council.”

Smith says if the city were to change the government structure, he would recommend cutting the number of wards from five to four.

He says the vote lost from the eliminated city council seat would then be given to the mayor.

Several aldermen questioned whether a switch was needed as the city seems to be running rather smoothly.

A special workshop has been scheduled for  Thursday, August 16 at 6:00 P.M. at city hall to gather public input.

A public vote would be required to change the structure of city government. 

Smith says a petition with at least 76 signatures would trigger a special election.  He says there is still time to get the question on the November ballot.