WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Seat Recommendation Coming July 22

Jul 5, 2014

The committee looking into whether Lee County should have one county seat or two is ready to make its recommendation.

It plans to present its findings to the Board of Supervisors during its meeting on Tuesday, July 22.

The Lee County Advisory Seat Committee is looking at the future of the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk

The county seat advisory committee It has been exploring four options

  • Maintain all services in current locations
  • Move all services into one central building
  • Restore services in Keokuk and Fort Madison (pre-2011 reorganization)
  • Restore drivers license services in Keokuk

Board of Supervisors Chairman Ernie Schiller is eager to hear the recommendation.

“You know that they have been going hot and heavy for a long time and I think it is important that they circle their arms around some decision," said Schiller, "and I think it is important for our county.  As I have heard, ‘let’s find out, let’s do something, let’s move this on.’ So I am excited they are coming yet this month.”

The make-up of the committee has changed as Keokuk Alderwoman Sandy Pollitt tendered her resignation during its most recent meeting.

She said the committee was biased towards having one county seat and that she would try to form another committee.

Lee County endorsed the current committee and even offered access to department heads and meeting space.  

Schiller said he would not be willing to endorse a new committee.
    
The current committee will continue meeting on Monday evenings until it makes the recommendation.  It has already met more than a half-dozen times throughout the county.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANNING

Lee County wants to be better prepared if one of its buildings is knocked out of commission.

The county has already faced this challenge.  Lightning struck the home of the Lee County Conservation Office in late April knocking out electrical and internet services.

Staff had to work out of the North Lee County Office building for several days until it was decided to bring in a portable trailer.

Chairman Ernie Schiller said if the county was better prepared, such decisions could be made more quickly.

"(The Board should be) coming up with some kind of plan that we could enact whether it is a committee or a single person to go to, someone to help us build up some responses,” said Schiller.
         
Schiller says this would take the stress off the impacted department heads, who would already be trying to maintain day-to-day operations from a temporary headquarters.

He says the county has forwarded a past emergency response plan to the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission for a review and update.