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A fast track is the wrong track for water quality

Editorial from Cedar Rapids Gazette. Used with permission.

We read news this week that water quality legislation may be placed on a fast track when lawmakers return to the Statehouse in January. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey wants it to happen. Gov. Kim Reynolds says she hopes “it’s the first bill I get to sign as governor of the state of Iowa.”

That sounds like good news. That is, until you dig into the details.

Mayor would give up power to appoint police, fire chiefs under proposed city ordinance change

The power to appoint future police and fire chiefs in Bettendorf would switch from the mayor to the city administrator under an ordinance change expected to be approved by the city council this week.

The current city ordinance gives the mayor the power to appoint (with city council concurrence) those positions. The new ordinance, up for the first reading at Tuesday's (11/21) council meeting, would give the city administrator authority to appoint, with council approval, future fire and police chiefs.

Eldorado Resorts – new Bettendorf Isle of Capri owner – reports big jump in operating income

Eldorado Resorts, Inc. – the new owner of Bettendorf's Isle of Capri Casino – reported (11/2) third quarter net income of $29.6 million, or 38 cents per share.

Eldorado Chairman and CEO Gary Carano told analyst during a conference call the company "could not be more pleased with our progress (integrating the Isle of Capri casino properties) to date."

While total revenues at the Reno-based firm fell 1 percent compared with the third quarter a year ago, operating income at the company's casinos was up more than 40 percent compared with the same three-month period in 2016.

Plan submitted for first commercial development at sports complex; Middle and Forest Grove Road intersection upgrade yet to be finalized

Plans for two commercial buildings and a restaurant – part of the sports complex at Middle and Forest Grove Roads – are headed for Bettendorf City Council approval, but improvements to that key intersection have yet to be finalized by the city.

City/Ascentra Credit Union eye Town Square deal; includes 10-year, $2-million TIF and land swap

Bettendorf's vacant Town Square block – between State and Grant Streets and 20th and 21st Streets – would become the site of a new four-story, $9-million Ascentra Credit Union headquarters under a development deal before the city council.

Iowa awards up to $2.5 million in sales tax rebates to sports complex; annual sales projected at $7 million

The Bettendorf sports complex under construction at I-80 and Middle Road was awarded up to $2.5 million in state sales tax rebates recently (10/11) based on the developer's estimate more than $66 million in sales will be generated over the next 10 years by the project.

Alcoa superfund report – remediation to contain/treat groundwater contamination apparently working

Remediation efforts to prevent contaminated groundwater at Alcoa's Davenport Works from reaching the Mississippi River appear to be working, according to a five-year analysis issued recently (7/28) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The report states the system of wells and pumps around the site are preventing contaminated groundwater from moving offsite. Once captured, the contaminated water is treated to remove the pollutants: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), volatile organic compounds (VOC's), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) and metals.

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