Small town of Center Junction could disband - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Small town of Center Junction could disband

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JONES COUNTY (KWWL) - An eastern Iowa town has made it to the end of it's bottom line and may soon be no more.

Center Junction is considering disbanding meaning all the city's services will be handed over to Jones County.

Margaret Gravel has called Center Junction home for more than 60 years and has seen business after business fade away.

Now the city only has two businesses.

"Just about all my life since I got married," said Gravel. "Everybody's the same to me so..."

However, now her city might not be the same.

Center Junction has just over 100 people and the mayor, Sandy Ricklefs says people living in the town are struggling to keep the city going.

"The bills just go on and on and on and we just don't have the income anymore to cover that," said Ricklefs. "This is not going to be news in a few years because I fear this is going to happen to other towns."

She says about three months ago the five-member city council began talks of disbanding the city after they couldn't keep up on paying for law enforcement, emergency management and library services.

Center Junction volunteer firefighter Rex Andrews says disbanding the city will make things worse.

"Right now I'm against it," said Andrews. "I'm on the fire department and if you're unincorporated you loose your fire department, you loose your council, you loose everything and everything's taken over by the county."

He says that means emergency response when it comes to fires might be delayed. 

The mayor says the city will no long have elections, no city-run fire department and no city street maintenance if they officially become unincorporated.

She says the bottom line is that there is not enough money and too many expense.

"New kids come in and then they move on and go to bigger cities," said Ricklefs.

Ricklefs says if the council votes to disband on January 5, and the City Development Board based out of Des Moines approves it, Center Junction town could officially be unincorporated as early as mid-March. 

She says the disbandment could mean lower property taxes for residents.

As for Margaret, unincorporated or not she'll always remember memories in her home on Main Street.

"I suppose it's something we have to get used to, live goes on. Something we have to live with," said Andrews.

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