Committee Recommends One Lee County Courthouse
The group that has been reviewing Lee County government services has finished its work and made a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
The committee considered four options.
- Return Drivers' License Services to Keokuk
- Return Services to Pre-2011 Locations
- Build New, Central Location
- Do Nothing
The committee's final recommendation is to build a single courthouse near the Lee County Jail outside Montrose.
It would replace four buildings.
- North Lee County Courthouse (Fort Madison)
- South Lee County Courthouse (Keokuk)
- North Lee County Office Building (Fort Madison)
- North Lee County Attorney's Office (Fort Madison)
Van Pelt said the recommendation is based on facts and figures, not emotions, which have been dominating public perception.
"We know there are unhappy people with our recommendation, but it was a recommendation," Van Pelt said. "It was not the final decision."
The final decision is up to the supervisors.
The latest round of county seat talk started when the supervisors voted in 2011 to reorganize four departments, which eliminated drivers’ license services in Keokuk.
The centrally-located courthouse was not the only recommendation from the committee.
It also said the county should bring in an outside expert to further study the issue and give residents a chance to vote on whether there should be one courthouse or two.
The committee believes if a new courthouse is built, the Lee County Health Department should be moved to the North Lee County office building in Fort Madison.
It’s unclear when or even if the single courthouse recommendation will be considered by the supervisors.
Chairman Ernie Schiller, who has been pushing for one county seat for years, has five months remaining in his current term after being defeated in the June Primary.