The tale of the disappearing city: Millville unincorporating - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

The tale of the disappearing city: Millville unincorporating

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MILLVILLE (KWWL) -

It's a rare thing, indeed, when a city in Iowa decides to call it quits and disband.

Since at least 1992, only four municipalities have unincorporated, and now Clayton County's Millville is well on its way to becoming the fifth.

While driving north on US Highway 52 toward Guttenberg, you might miss Millville if you blink.

It's, "0.76 miles long," according to mayor Larry Wilson.

His term is up this fall, but he's not running. In fact, nobody is.

"We're unincorporating, and we're going to do it because there's only 21 people left in the city," Wilson said.

Residents' decision to disband has nothing to do with financial woes.

"Most places go in debt when they unincorporate, but we had such a surplus in our accounts, because we never spent it on anything, that we were able to pay about four and a half years ahead for garbage pickup," Wilson said.

The city also plans on spending some of the extra money to repair a few roads. Any more cash beyond that it will donate to Guttenberg's library and schools, Wilson said.

Millville was established in 1967, along the Turkey River.

"Back then there was grocery stores and gas stations and a hospital - or, a doctor's office - and things like that," Wilson said. "Not anymore."

With only 12 houses now and two businesses, Wilson said, it only made sense for Millville to disband.

"It's bittersweet for some, but, at the same time, it's like lifting a burden that's really unnecessary for the town of Millville," he said.

Iowa's City Development Board will vote, likely at its November meeting, on Millville's request to unincorporate. Board administrator Matt Rasmussen said it will become official after that.

Millville will then become subject to the laws and officials of Clayton County. That means residents' property values will drop, Wilson said, leading to lower taxes.

The other Iowa cities that have unincorporated since 1992 were Mount Sterling, in 2012; Littleport and Athelstan, in 2004; and Kent in 2002, Rasmussen said.

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