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Fort Madison Seeking Better Interest Rates

Jul 5, 2013

Fort Madison City Council

Fort Madison wants to prove it will be fiscally responsible.

The city is getting ready to borrow $6-million to replace streets and improve several parks.

City Manager Byron Smith said in anticipation, the city council has adopted a debt management policy and a reserve policy.

He said the city’s finances must be reviewed in order to establish a bond rating.

"The rating agencies look very favorably on having these policies," said Smith, "so hopefully we get a better rate on the bonds by having these policies in place."

The debt management policy states that the city will not borrow money for day-to-day expenses and will seek refinancing opportunities while the reserve policy states the city’s pledge to adopt balanced budgets when possible and guidance on spending from reserve accounts.


Fort Madison is addressing four nuisance properties that have sat vacant for several years.

The city council has hired two firms to tear down a total of four structures: 417 Avenue G, 3034 Avenue K, 2410 Avenue M and 1309 24th Street.

The cost to the city will be about $25,000, but Smith said much of the money spent on nuisance properties is eventually reimbursed through tax sales or other payments.


Fort Madison will be providing the water for the new Iowa State Penitentiary, which is being built north of town.

Smith said the prison will become the city's second largest customer.  The facility utilized private wells in the past.

Smith said the Iowa Department of Corrections will pay for the connection to the city’s water system before handing it over to the city for future upkeep.

The ISP will receive the city's bulk rate for water with several scheduled increases in place through 2024.


The Fort Madison City Council has rejected a proposal to apply for up to $60,000 from the Iowa Department of Transportation to pay for the study.

Smith said aldermen prefer a trail-by-trail approach for future improvements.

"We are just going to see where it can help and try to get a project going," said Smith, "but without an overall plan, it will be hit and miss."

Smith said he could bring the idea of a comprehensive trail study back before the city council next year.

Aldermen did agree to seek about $90,000 from the state to replace sidewalks around Lincoln Elementary and Fort Madison High School.