WIUM Tristates Public Radio

State Senator Wants Services Back in Keokuk

Jan 12, 2014

The Iowa Legislature could be asked to weigh in on how and where Lee County offers certain governmental services.

State Senator Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant) wants to return Lee County services to the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors voted, in 2011, to restructure county operations.

The County Auditor and Treasurer moved all of their operations to the North Lee County Office Building in Fort Madison and the County Assessor and Recorder set up shop in the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk.

Prior to that, each department had an office in both locations, which are the county seats.

State Senator Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant) believes the Lee County Board of Supervisors accomplished that by taking advantage of a legal loophole.

He cites a section of state code that says offices must be furnished in the county seat.

"It does not say provide services, but to me, it implies that services would be provided if you have an office."

Taylor says legislation is being drafted that he hopes will address the loophole and return all services to both county seats.

He says Keokuk residents consistently ask for help with this, in particular returning a driver's license facility to the city.

He says he is open to non-legislative solutions, such as letting people vote on whether to maintain the restructured government.

Taylor says he will proceed based on the feedback he receives from residents in the coming weeks.  He says that means if residents oppose his legislature, he will not move it forward.

Lee County is the only county in Iowa with two county seats.