We have completed another budget with the City of Fort Madison. That is a sign of the seasons changing for those of us at City Hall. We hope that this translates into the snow melting and staying away until another winter.
The budget is again balanced and the City Council held the City tax rate to essentially the same rate – 14.88. This year the Council has also held the water and sewer departments to no rate increases. Overall the budget is in good shape. One slight increase in the police department budget is the addition of a School Resource Officer. This position is in partnership with the Fort Madison Community School District and they are going to contribute one-half of the cost for this position.
The coming budget year should see many projects moving forward. We have waited a long time to see the Avenue D bridge project move forward. This project is paid for with 80% grant money. We received the bids and should see construction move forward this spring and summer.
Another segment of Avenue E will be replaced this budget year. This segment is between 15th Street and 18th Street. We have received grant money that covers 80% of the cost of this project as well.
The project to extend a sewer line out to the Siemens area is moving forward in this budget year. We are very hopeful that this will improve our ability to attract other industry to this area. We will then have both water and sewer in the area.
The Amtrak depot relocation project has slowed to a standstill and we are waiting on Amtrak to give us the specifications we need to build the platform. They are having internal discussions as well as discussions with the Federal Railroad Administration. Mayor Randolph and I plan to meet with their senior people in April on a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. To remember how far we have come, you can now see the exciting video of the raising of the depot on the City website.