Millville to disband by year's end

At the time of the 2010 census, there were 30 people, 12 households, and nine families residing in Millville. The population has since dwindled to 21, according to Mayor Larry Wilson. (Press photo by Molly Moser)


By Molly Moser

One of Guttenberg’s closest neighbors, the city of Millville, will soon cease to exist. Millville’s city council has voted to dissolve the city, and the process is well underway. Millville mayor Larry Wilson expects to be unincorporated by the end of the year. 

“You don’t even think we have a city council, because you drive through in four seconds,” said the Mayor last week. Incorporated in 1967, Millville spans three-quarters of a mile along Highway 52. Its population is 21.

Citizens were invited to speak their concerns at a public meeting before the council made a final vote to disband. Wilson says the decision was met with no opposition. “When we had the open meeting, four or five people showed up. The only question was about garbage pickup.”  

That issue has been addressed for the immediate future. Millville has enough surplus in its accounts to purchase garbage pickup for the next four years. 

The council’s priority now is to spend what’s left in their treasury before disbanding. “The majority of our money is going to road use,” said Jessica Bittner, Millville’s city clerk. The main road has already been repaired, and the remaining designated road use funds will be used to gravel other roads. The city also plans to make donations to Guttenberg Public Library and Clayton Ridge Schools. 

City council members have been working with Matt Rasmussen of Iowa’s City Development Board to follow proper procedures for disbanding. Once the funds are spent and the paperwork is filed, the board will vote to approve Millville’s unincorporation. Then, Millville will fall under the rules and regulations of Clayton County. 

“It’s going to be a benefit,” said Wilson of the city’s dissolution. “Property taxes are going to go down for everybody.” 

Former mayor and city council member Jim Hankes says it's been increasingly hard to find people to serve on the council. Hankes was born in Millville, and recalls the city at its height.

“I can remember four gas stations and three taverns, and then there were two cafes. There was a creamery. I guess years ago, there was even a dance hall down here,” he says. His grandmother ran the telephone office in Millville, and according to his mother, there was a post office at one time. 

Most recent to disband in Clayton County was the city of Littleport, located about 20 miles west of Guttenberg. Littleport disincorporated in 2005. Most of its residents moved away following a damaging flood in 1999.  By 2010, the population had dwindled to 26.

Bittner, a native of Guttenberg, moved to Millville in 2007. “A couple of years after that, they started to consider unincorporating,” she told The Press. 

Though their city is no more, Bittner and Wilson expect that not much will change for those living in the area.  

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