Mayor resigns after council votes to not disband Center Junction - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mayor resigns after council votes to not disband Center Junction

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The small city of Center Junction has a population of just over 100. And thanks to a 3-2 vote from the city council last night, they will stay a city -- much to the consternation of their mayor, who resigned after the vote.

The city has more than $25,000 in debt, and doesn't make enough from property taxes to cover all of its bills, Mayor Sandy Ricklefs said.

She said they started exploring the idea of disbanding the city months ago. It would then become an unincorporated part of Jones County.

Ricklefs, the city's now former mayor, said one month ago she was sure the council would vote to disband the city.

But they surprised her by voting against it last night.

And that prompted her to quit on the spot.

"I've done a lot of lot of work on this. I've done much foot work and made many, many telephone calls, and just didn't feel like at this point I couldn't go on and do it any justice," Ricklefs said.

She said the two issues people in her city had been worried about were property taxes and the fire department.

But she said, and the Jones County Auditor confirmed, that had they been able to get rid of their debt, their property taxes would've gone down.

Ricklefs said she had a plan in place to eliminate that debt, including selling some of the city's assets, like their snowplow. She also said they had a plan in place to make sure they would still have a functioning fire department.

"Some services would be a little slower, or we wouldn't have as much," she said.  "But we would get by."

Pam Laytem will now take over as mayor.  She said her concerns were that property taxes would go up.  She wouldn't say any more until they've had their next council meeting, which she said will most likely be next month.

As for the future of this town?

Ricklefs said as many as 40 people were at the meeting last night, and most of them supported the resolution to disband the city. She said many of them talked about starting a petition to put the resolution to a vote.

Other than that, Ricklefs said, "I have absolutely no clue what's going to happen."

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