Bettendorf City Council

Bettendorf to Riverdale: Plow your own streets, do your own engineering if you keep trail access closed

Unhappy Bettendorf City Council members are sending a stern message to the City of Riverdale and Mayor Mike Bawden: You can plow your own snow and handle your own engineering services if you're going to close down the Mississippi River Trail connection along South Kensington Street.

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.

Life Fitness Center sale among options being discussed to help offset pandemic revenue losses

As Bettendorf city leaders confront revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Life Fitness Center appears to have a big "sell me" target on its back.

In his presentation to alderman Tuesday (4/21), City Finance Director Jason Schadt listed "Divest of Loss Generating Enterprises" as one of the possible short-term objectives to trim city expenses.

And, in discussions earlier this month, city officials had a more specific phrase for "loss generating enterprises" – close and sell the Life Fitness Center.

City administrator strikes secret deal with alderman to avoid move to cancel surveillance contract

Bettendorf's city administrator struck a secret deal with an alderman to convince him not to seek reconsideration of contract with an Israeli online surveillance firm.

In emails obtained by bettendorf.com through a Freedom of Information request, Second Ward Alderman Scott Naumann told City Administrator Decker Ploehn Monday, Dec. 16 he planned to ask the council rescind the $18,000 contract with ZenCity at the council's Dec. 17 meeting. The council had approved the agreement Dec. 4 with no discussion.

Bettendorf eyes spending $61,000 to prove Trump's 'Buy America' requirement a bad deal for taxpayers

Bettendorf aldermen are considering spending $61,000 to prove President Trump's "Buy America" requirement is a bad deal for local taxpayers, costing tens of thousands of dollars more to build the free-standing elevator connecting the Mississippi River recreation trail with the new I-74 Bridge.

Bettplex developer states he's 'offended' by city 'worrying about less than $600,000 of cost overruns'

Bettplex developer Doug Kratz – signing emails "frustrated" and demanding city legal staff rather than his attorneys draft revisions for an amended development agreement – stands to get an additional $1 million subsidy from city taxpayers for his sports complex.

The amended development agreement – scheduled for consideration by the city council Tuesday (March 5) – increases the city's cap to pay for streets, sewers, sidewalks and storm water infrastructure at the sports complex from $3.78 million to $4.65 million.

Bettendorf City Council planning to maintain same tax rate, but higher assessments would increase residential property taxes by 5 percent

Bettendorf aldermen are expected to approve a new budget Tuesday (3/6) which maintains the existing tax rate thanks to higher residential property assessments and a successful early retirement offer projected to trim the city payroll by $730,000 annually.

The council already has approved the first reading of fee increases for solid waste (5 percent), storm water (8.5 percent) and sewer (7 percent) services.

Facing a projected $912,000 budget deficit in coming year, Bettendorf officials recommend 10% increase in residential property taxes

Calling it a "perfect storm" that created a $912,000 projected budget shortfall, Bettendorf city officials are recommending the council hike property taxes 10 percent in the coming year, plus increase stormwater fees 8.5 percent, sewer fees 7 percent and solid waste fees 5 percent.

The increase in property tax would mean the average resident with a home assessed at $215,000 would pay approximately $147 more annually. The higher sewer, stormwater and solid waste fees for an average user of those services would see an approximate annual increase of $31.

Bettendorf taxpayers to pay far more for sports complex streets, sewer and stormwater detention

Bettendorf taxpayers will pay far more for streets, sewers and stormwater detention than the $3.87 million stipulated in the contract with the Bettendorf sports complex developer.

In private 3-on-3 meetings with aldermen July 5, city officials outlined a summary of estimated infrastructure costs for the sports complex showing construction bids received so far are $844,000 above the cap set in the development agreement between the city and developer Douglas Kratz.

Mayor enlists friends to lobby fellow city council members; push for city sports complex incentives

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher – apparently fearing fellow city council members might reject millions in taxpayer funded incentives for a proposed sports complex – sent an email to friends and associates last week urging them to lobby the city council in support of the venture.

"I have learned that people who detract from projects organize and gather to be heard," Gallagher wrote in the email. "While those who trust their elected officials and support wonderful projects, usually don’t make it a point to be heard. That is human nature. I need you to please be heard on this one!"

Gallagher attached a copy of a "city incentive versus city benefits" memo which claims the $45-million sports complex would provide a $2.95 million "net benefit" to the city. However, the analysis failed to include an estimated $14 million in tax rebates the developers would receive under the 20-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) deal.

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