A Difficult Choice for Wapello Leaders


Making upgrades to our communities is a constant challenge facing city leaders in the QCA everyday. When it comes to smaller towns, especially, not all change can come at once.

Case in point: Wapello, Iowa

City leaders there had to choose between two important services: spend $775,000 dollars to update a community swimming pool built in the 80s with leaks, or build a new $2 million dollar fire station for more space for equipment.

They ended up choosing the pool makeover. Their reasoning? Money and location.

When Wapello city leaders heard the proposal for new fire station, there was no specific land picked out for where it would go.

Also, the city would have to borrow all the money, borrowing $2 million is a lot of ask for a town of just over 2,000 people.

"The fire department is looking at a structure that beyond what our debt limit is right at the moment," said Wapello Mayor Ron Durbin. "We couldn't even go out for that at the moment to go into that type as a city, unless we want to endanger ourselves - which we do not want to do."

Right now, two city alderman are in charge of finding other solutions to finding the fire department more space.

Even though the city has made improvements to the pool, it still leaks at least 6,000 gallons of water a day - making the city's water bill jump and costing tax payers money.

Once construction is over, it will be 75 percent bigger than the current one.

But this can only become a reality, if the people of Wapello vote yes on a referendum. Residents will head to the polls on May 7 to vote on that referendum.

That is required because city leaders want to borrow more than $400,000 for this project.

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