LEE COUNTY - Lee County officials are asking the City of Fort Madison to recognize the new Lee County Health Department construction project on the former Iowan Motel property on the city's west side.
The county submitted a letter outlining a recommendation from the county's bond counsel Dorsey & Whitney out of Des Moines that the city authorize the project as it would fall within a designated Urban Renewal Area.
The letter also serves as a step in allowing the county to issue general obligation bonds for the remaining costs of the project.
Currently the county has allocated roughly $3.7 million to the project's $5 million to $5.4 million estimated cost, leaving them about $1.7 million short.
A Community Development Block Grant is in the works that could provide more than $500,000 to the project and efforts are underway to set up a trust through Lee County Charitable Trust for donations to the project.
Supervisor Garry Seyb said he hoped the county wouldn't get to the point where they needed to bond for the project.
"I wouldn't want to go to directly to bonding if we can come up with some other directions to pay for that," Seyb said.
"We've got some people working on donations through a non-profit and there is a Community Development Block Grant that we're working on," Seyb said.
Board Chairman Matt Pflug said the county has to get moving on the issue and will be putting a discussion on possibly borrowing for the remaining costs on the agenda next week.
"We have different opinions on the grants and that and you don't always get grants you apply for and we've seen how that works," Pflug said.
"We're about $1.7 million short right now roughly."
Because the property is in a city Urban Renewal Area, the county could potentially borrow the remaining funds without putting the issue in front of voters, in what's called a reverse referendum.
However, a public hearing on the matter would be required, and residents could petition to force the county to put the issue on a ballot. That petition would require 10% of the number of people who voted in the last general election, or about 1,660 signatures.
The letter doesn't allow the county to do the reverse referendum, but does open the door to a public hearing that would then require a vote to issue the bonds.
In an unrelated issue, the board approved a resolution to pay $20,000 per year for the next five years to the Southeast Iowa Aquatic Restoration Group for the benefit of the Fort Madiosn Riverfront Redevelopment program and the new Marina in the park.
The funds will come from the county's general fund.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here