Tri States Public Radio Staff
Considers Borrowing Millions
Thu September 13, 2012
Fort Madison Looks at Infrastructure
Fort Madison is considering a plan to borrow millions of dollars to improve its infrastructure.
City Manager Byron Smith says a citizens’ survey was conducted last year.
He says the results showed that residents are not happy with the quality of Fort Madison’s streets.
Smith says the city can only afford to make a few, small repairs to streets each year, so he is proposing a multi-million dollar infrastructure improvement program.
The proposal looks at what could be done from the city’s five-year capital improvement plan with $6-million.
Smith says that number is not set in stone, though, depending on advice from the firm Fort Madison works with to borrow money.
He says the property tax impact would also be considered, as borrowing $6-million would increase the tax rate by $1.50/$1,000 of assessed value.
Smith says now is a good time to borrow money because of the low interest rates that would be available to the city.
The program would also include improvements at several city parks.
Smith says the city council seems open to the idea of borrowing money, but the panel would like more details and more public input before making a decision.
The city will have to try again when it comes to a routine city function.
The new turn lane at the intersection of Highway 61 and 48th Street was completed months ago. The city received more than $400,000 in stimulus money to complete it.
The city council had an opportunity to accept responsibility for the project, from the contractor, during a recent meeting, but things did not go as planned.
Smith says aldermen thought the measure was approved by a 3-2 vote, but he says city staff determined, the next day, that it actually required four votes.
He says that means the issue will have to come up for another vote, which could be tight as several aldermen have questioned the quality of the work.
At issue is how the new concrete lines up with the existing asphalt.
Smith says city staff has reviewed the new turn lane and feels it is OK for the city council to accept it. He says Fort Madison is talking to the contractor about the project.