Decision on fitness center delayed until October

The Bettendorf City Council Tuesday (June 16) voted to delay a decision on closing the Life Fitness Center until October when the city will have better information on the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council also agreed to cancel the annual July 4th parade, delayed the July 4th fireworks display until a later (undetermined) date and put on hold the hiring of additional firefighters until this fall.

City Administrator Decker Ploehn told alderman at the meeting the city already has had the fitness center appraised (somewhere between $750,000 and $1 million), and that there are two parties interested in purchasing the facility. He did not disclose who he has talked with regarding sale of the fitness center.

Ploehn said one of the reasons the fitness center is targeted for closure was that it is staffed primarily with part-time employees. However, the pool, the Family Museum and Palmer Hills employ many people working less than full-time hours.

Among the enterprise funds, Palmer Hills and the Family Museum were not targeted for any cost reductions under Ploehn's recommendation.

The library is slated to lose half of its budget for new materials, $215,000. The pool closure would save the city $250,000 over the remainder of this fiscal year and into the next fiscal year starting July 1, but the facility would not be permanently closed like the fitness center.

The only question from council members after Ploehn publicly disclosed the cost-cutting plan was from Ald. Jerry Sechser, who asked why the city wasn't considering closure of Palmer Hills Golf Course.

One of the reasons given for closing the fitness center has been that other private companies offer similar services.

Sechser pointed out the many private golf courses that are available to golfers even if the city disposed of Palmer Hills.

Decker told the council the city staff would explain at the June 2 meeting why the fitness center was targeted for closure rather than other city amenities like the golf course or Family Museum.

Here is the list of cuts recommended by Bettendorf officials to the city council Tuesday (May 18).

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