Lee County citizens advisory committee suggests consolidating 2 county seats to 1 seat


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MONTROSE, Iowa — A citizen's advisory committee has recommended Lee County consolidate two county seats into one, a change that would put it in line with Iowa's 98 other counties.

In a Tuesday night meeting with the Lee County Board of Supervisors, the committee suggested the county's dual seats in Fort Madison and Keokuk be consolidated into one seat at the county jail outside of Montrose, according to The Hawk Eye (http://bit.ly/1noIBgO ).

The committee was formed after some residents complained that the longtime practice of two county seats was wasteful.

"The committee thinks most Lee County residents want an efficient county government at the lowest possible operating cost," committee member Pat Marshall said, reading from the packet the committee distributed to the board. "The best way to do this is with a single courthouse like the rest of the 98 other Iowa counties."

The advisory committee estimates a new courthouse would cost $8.5 million, though some of that money would pay for renovations to a county building in Fort Madison as the new home of the county health department.

Committee members, who noted the cost was a rough estimate and likely would need to change, suggested financing the project through a 20-year bond.

The group also suggested the board consider doing away with drivers licenses since the state-run service is not required.

It's unclear what the supervisors will do with the recommendation.

Supervisor Matt Pflug said a complete consolidation was too drastic of a change.

Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com

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