Mayor Bob Gallagher

Bettendorf officials scramble to plug $1.3 million budget shortfall; early retirement incentives, property tax increase under consideration

A projected $1.3-million budget shortfall has Bettendorf city officials scrambling to offer an early retirement incentive to employees and seeking council support for a property tax increase for the coming fiscal year.

City Administrator Decker Ploehn and Mayor Bob Gallagher called a special work session of the city council Monday (1/29) to outline the proposed early retirement program and the need for higher taxes to offset the incentives over the short term.

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.

Emails indicate mayor, city administrator pushed TIF's for downtown apartments for past year

For more than a year, Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher and City Administrator Decker Ploehn have been telling their economic development staff and developers they would support use of city tax incentives for projects involving downtown apartments.

In emails obtained by bettendorf.com through a Freedom of Information request, both Gallagher and Ploehn were focused on redevelopment of eight apartment buildings in the downtown known collectively as the Carling Apartments.

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