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Lee County Forum Shows Divided Nature


More than 200 people from throughout Lee County turned out for Tuesday night’s taxpayer forum at Central Lee.

It was only supposed to last 90 minutes, but due to a steady stream of comments and questions, it ran more than two hours.

The forum showed how city residents differ from rural residents on whether county services should be restored to both county seats.

Keokuk residents called for the services to be returned to their city.  That includes Mayor Tom Marion informing those in attendance that the city was ready to do anything to accomplish that, including a lawsuit.

Rural residents, like Sue Dyer of rural Houghton, brought a different message to the meeting.

“I think there needs to be one seat," says Dyer.  "Everybody agree on where to put it and go with that.  Obviously it will save a lot of money."

Mary Van Pelt of Montrose helped organize the forum.

She had hoped the questions and comments would focus on the use of tax dollars, but that did not happen.

“I didn’t expect it to be a complete forum about one or two (seats)," says Van Pelt, "but it was, and I think that is what the people had on their mind.”

Van Pelt says she would be more than willing to help organize a second forum if that is what it takes to unite Lee County.

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