City of Keokuk Holds Regular Council Meeting May 2nd

The Keokuk City Council met last Thursday May 2nd at Torrance Elementary School for their regular meeting. Torrance remains the city’s interim council meeting place as plans for a new city hall are developed in the wake of the fire that ravaged the previous location on Blondeau Street in early February.


Public Hearing and Resolution Regarding Proposed Shooting Range

The Keokuk City Council met last Thursday May 2nd at Torrance Elementary School for their regular meeting. Torrance remains the city’s interim council meeting place as plans for a new city hall are developed in the wake of the fire that ravaged the previous location on Blondeau Street in early February.

Amongst the first action items on the agenda Thursday was a resolution and public forum regarding the proposed construction of a municipal gun range that would be used by the Keokuk Police Department to attain the regular firearm certification that the state of Iowa requires law enforcement officers to update yearly.

The City had budgeted $250,000 to go towards the construction of the range but the lowest of 6 bids received was for $275,652.40 or $25,652.40 above the budgeted amount. The low bid came from Blue Top Excavating of Wever, IA. Keokuk City Administrator Cole O’Donnell explained that the plan is to look to see if there are any areas that can value engineered to get the bid inline with the budget.

Upon completion, the shooting range would be only be accessible to law enforcement personnel only for a period of time. According to O’Donnell, the plan is to have the range be open to the public as well eventually.

During the public hearing, a resident asked the council why the Keokuk Police Department couldn’t attain their firearm training at the Tri-States Gun Club in Montrose. At-Large Councilman John Helenthal explained that the range in Montrose has become very busy in recent months.

O’Donnell and 1st Ward Councilman Mike O’Connor also explained how the money for the shooting range is budgeted from the general fund which is meant to be allocated for capital projects. They were also asked why this money couldn’t be used to repair the city’s streets to which O’Donnell explained that money for street repairs comes from the road usage tax. The contract with Blue Top Excavating was unanimously adopted by the council.

Sale of General Obligation Notes

The council also made a move to bring in money to work on the city’s riverfront. Item number 10 on the council agenda consisted of a resolution authorizing the city to sell taxable general obligation notes, or municipal bonds, and the resolution passed unanimously.

City Administrator Cole O’Donnell detailed the amount of the bonds that will be sold and their intended purpose.

As such the bonds will not be bared directly by the taxpayer but will be repaid over a period of years as part of the budget in future years. As O’Donnell stated, should the city rid itself of the former Rhythm City Barge at no cost or at a profit, the money will be put towards riverfront improvements.

Public Hearing for Proposed Sale of Mainstreet Property set for June 6th

The City of Keokuk is also looking into selling certain real estate on Main Street that has fallen back into the city’s hands. Item number 13 on the agenda considered setting a public hearing date for disposal and development of 4 properties including 619, 623, 625, and 629 Main Street.

City Administrator Cole O’Donnell went on to say that the council will have the option to consider bids based on more than just dollar amount when these properties are disposed of.

The 4 buildings will be sold as 3 separate properties as the council passed the public hearing date for 6:30PM at Torrance Elementary School for the regular Council meeting on June 6.

Special Events Permit for Independence Day Celebration

The council also approved of a special events permit for Lenny Etter to provide the Rand Parks fireworks on July 5th contingent that Etter provide proof of 1 millions dollars liability insurance. Moving forward after 2019, J and M Displays has guaranteed that Etter will hold the fireworks show precisely on the 4th of July.