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Fort Madison Increasing Sewer Rates

Fort Madison City Council - 500_3.jpg
Fort Madison City Council

Fort Madison residents should expect some good news and some bad news from the city when they go to their mailboxes this summer.

The city council has approved the first reading of an ordinance that would decrease the water basic charge by just over $1.00/month.  The average residential household will see a decrease of 4%.

Aldermen described that as the “good news” during its most recent meeting.

The savings are linked to favorable bids for the construction of the new water plant and several transmission mains.

The “bad news” for residents came just a couple minutes later as the council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would increase sewer rates by 25%.

City Manager Byron Smith says the extra $5/month from the average residential customer will help fund several projects.  He says the work will be done at the sewer treatment plant and within the current combined sanitary/storm-water system.

The city council must approve each rate change two more times.  They would take effect July 1.



The city council has authorized the city to work with The Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE), which is based out of Iowa State University.

City Manager Byron Smith says the center will study and document the condition of Fort Madison’s streets for use in the creation of a 5-year street improvement plan.  Past practice has been for the city council to set the priorities for street repairs/improvements.

The information collected will also be added to a statewide transportation database.

The study from the CTRE should cost the city no more than $11,000.



Fort Madison might be able to help Lee County with a sewer project.

City Manager Byron Smith says the city has started talking to the U.S. Economic Development Administration about running a sewer line along Highway 61 to Siemens.  

Smith says the design phase is underway with the next step being right-of-way acquisition.  He says the project should be completed within the next 18 months.

Lee County has contacted the city about connecting its jail complex to the sewer line, which would allow the facility to be expanded in the future.  Without the connection, the county would have to add a second sewer line to the facility.

Lee County’s permit to add the second system expires in about 11-months.



Fort Madison is asking the U.S. EPA for more time to test its sewer disinfection plant in Riverview Park.

The city hopes treating raw sewage run-off before it reaches the Mississippi River will help it avoid pending millions to separate the city’s combined sewer system.

The extension is needed because Fort Madison has not experience enough heavy rain events to test its operations.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.