Iowa Senator Seeks Ceiling on Corporate Tax Credits

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Senate Democrat has introduced legislation intended to halt the last transfer of state tax credits to the fertilizer plant being built south of Wever in Lee County. Sen. Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, proposed a bill Tuesday meant to prevent Orascom, an Egyptian multinational corporation, from requesting a final $25 million tax credit installment.  

In 2012, Gov. Terry Branstad promised the company $100 million in investment tax credits, in addition to other federal, state and local incentives, in exchange for the creation of 165 permanent jobs in Iowa. Bolkcom’s proposal would cap the amount of investment tax credits any corporation can receive at $75 million.   Bolkcom said in a statement that this is Iowa’s last chance to avoid “needlessly” giving away more money. Continue Reading


Property Tax Bill Higher? You’re Not Alone!

There are some changes afoot in the Des Moines County Assessor’s office.  

and many local taxpayers won’t like the end result.  Assessor Matt Warner says about 90% of the county’s property owners have been sent change notices, meaning their assessed value has either gone up or down, but didn’t remain the same. Warner took the time at yesterday’s County Board meeting to dispel the rumor that his office was doing this with the express purpose of generating more tax money.   He also put the kibosh on what calls “misinformation,” that new computer software is to blame. If you’re one of those affected by the new assessments, you have three choices — you can pay the bill, you can schedule an informal review with the Assessor’s office between now and May 4, or you can file a formal appeal between April 7 and May 5 and the Board of Review will schedule a full hearing sometime in May. Continue Reading


A New Press Box and More Parking for Bracewell

Bracewell Stadium in Burlington may soon get a major face-lift. The Burlington School Board approved to move forward with the bidding process at last night’s meeting for the press-box renovation. Byron Wittlesey, who’s in charge of maintenance for the district, spoke to us last night about their plans… The Whole Truth Gospel Church of Holiness on South Central Street in Burlington, which is now owned by the school, is expected to come down this week to create more parking… The financial impact is around $750,000 from sales tax, which Whittlesey says will not cover the entire project, so they may have to alter their plans. Continue Reading


Something Burlington Tax Payers Should Know…

There are some changes afoot in the Des Moines County Assessor’s Office, and many local taxpayers may not like the end result.

Assessor Matt Warner says about 90% of the county’s property owners have been sent change notices, meaning their assessed value has gone up or down.. Warner also took the time at today’s meeting to dispel at least one rumor… Continue Reading

Golf Carts on Fort Madison Streets May be Legal

Fort Madison is considering whether to allow golf carts on city streets. The City Council will discuss the issue tonight. City Manager Byron Smith says at least two council members and some residents are receptive to an ordinance. He also says that several cities in the area have adopted similar ordinances since 2011. If approved, a registration fee would generate some revenue. Continue Reading


Burlington CC Agrees to Deny Rezoning App, Extend Residential PropTax Abatements

It’s not official yet, because no formal vote has been taken, but the Burlington City Council will have no choice but to reject a rezoning request from a local developer who wanted to turn the old Perkins School on Dodge Street into apartments, with some duplexes on the property as well. A number of the neighbors objected, so Lloyd and Levi Thola have withdrawn their application. In other development news, it appears the Council backs another addition to the Westbrook Estates subdivision, but not without sidewalks.  

Much of yesterday’s work session centered on how much of a property tax abatement to offer residential developers, and for how long.  It’s currently 100% for three years, but certain developers were offered more, which raised questions about fairness. Continue Reading


Burlington School Makes $440,000 in Reductions

The Burlington School Board approved to publish their proposed 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. During the work session, before their regular meeting tonight, each member got another chance to voice their opinions on the proposed cuts, which total around $440,000. Member Tammy Darnall felt that they weren’t provided enough information about some of the positions they had to cut or decide to restore. Board member Linda Garwood was upset that they have to cut the Communications and Assessment Director they just hired…. “Like I’ve said before, I think anybody that does anything anymore, does it online, and I think he’s done a phenomenal job in making our district look welcoming. Continue Reading


Dumping Ground Catches Fire in Burlington



The only thing hurt in a backyard fire this afternoon was someones pride. Fire crews were called to a home along Golf Course Road in Burlington at around 4:30pm. The fire was located in a backyard in a portion of their wooded area they use as a dumping ground. Homeowner Laverne Neal took the blame… “I emptied a burning barrel this morning that I burned Saturday. Continue Reading


Free Weather Spotter Class Tomorrow

A reminder that Des Moines County Emergency Management will host a severe weather-spotter course tomorrow night. The class is from 6:30-9 at Aldo Leopold Middle School in Burlington, located at 3075 Sunnyside. No pre-registration is required, there’s no charge, and two National Weather Service Meteorologists will conduct the class. Everyone is welcome to come.   Continue Reading