Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting set for Sunday, August 26th at 2pm

Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting set for Sunday, August 26th at 2pm

 

The monthly Mayor’s Town Hall meeting is set for this coming Sunday (August 26th) at 2pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.

The tentative agenda includes:

  1. An update on the car break-ins and auto theft on August, 11th
  2. A discussion of issues surrounding the MRT and possible solutions
  3. Fiber optic service update
  4. Woods Estates progress report
  5. Fall Fest plans
  6. Comprehensive Plan review progress report

Please come with your thoughts, comments and fresh ideas!

See you then!

Fall Fest needs volunteers!

Fall Fest needs volunteers!

 

Riverdale Fall Fest needs volunteer support for the September 15th event.

According to Council Member Kelly Krell, the committee may need as many as twenty volunteers to help with everything from set-up to on-site activities to tear-down and clean-up.

“Even if you can only help for part of the day because you plan on enjoying the event, that’s okay,” explained Council Member Krell. “Right now, the only volunteers we know we have on board are the ones who helped plan the event. It would be great to get some more help.”

If you’re interested in helping with Fall Fest, please let us know!

Crime Prevention Task Force meeting set for 3pm on Friday, August 31

Crime Prevention Task Force meeting set for 3pm on Friday, August 31

 

An open public meeting has been scheduled to discuss neighborhood security issues following the break-ins and theft of a car from the hilltop on Saturday August 11th. The meeting will be chaired by Council Member Paul DCamp and will focus on identifying possible steps the City and its residents can take to prevent criminal acts in our neighborhoods.

As currently envisioned, there will be two or three meetings of this Crime Prevention Task Force over the coming weeks. The group’s mission is to research and discuss options that will then be presented to Council for discussion and possible action.

The meeting is open to residents of Riverdale and we encourage your participation.

Want to make Riverdale work? You’ll have to get involved.

Want to make Riverdale work? You’ll have to get involved.

Do you want to live in a vibrant community that’s family-friendly and has lower property taxes than other communities in Scott County?

That’s not the Riverdale of today. But it could be the Riverdale of tomorrow.

There’s just one missing ingredient:

You.

Here are the hard facts we have to take into consideration when we think about the city in which we live:

  • Changes in the Iowa tax code means that the big property tax bill ALCOA used to pay has grown smaller and that means the City of Riverdale gets less from its largest corporate neighbor now than it did in the 1980’s (or 60’s).
  • Regulations on everything from environmental protection to building codes to street safety now require cities like Riverdale to re-evaluate everything we’ve done for the past fifty years and make sure we’re compliant with these new 21st-Century standards.
  • A city of only 450 residents doesn’t have the economic resources of those cities that surround us like Bettendorf (30,000 residents) or Davenport (100,000+ residents).

Resources are scarce. Whether we’re talking about money (i.e. taxes), personnel or time. So, if Riverdale is going to continue to improve, we have to take a hard look at our citizens to find ways to encourage their involvement in our day-to-day, quality of life.

You and your family members can make the difference here in Riverdale – the difference between just getting along or making Riverdale someplace special.

I can promise you one thing: I’ll continue to work with our Council members and concerned citizens to address the issues we feel are most important and to insist (yes, insist) that everyday citizens get involved and contribute a little time and experience to help our city thrive.

Not sure we’re addressing any issues that are really important (or interesting) to you? That’s easy enough to fix.

Come to our next Town Hall Meeting (scheduled for Sunday, August 26th at 2pm) at City Hall and let me know what you think.

See you there.

UPDATE: Auto theft and break-in reported on Manor Drive

UPDATE: Auto theft and break-in reported on Manor Drive

 

UPDATE (08/15/18 @ 7:11 pm): A letter has been sent to every home and business in Riverdale from the mayor outlining what’s been learned about Saturday’s crime event to-date and providing tips from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office on steps individuals can take to reduce the risk of similar activities taking place at their homes. A copy of that letter can be viewed by clicking here.

Also, Council Member Paul DCamp has been asked to convene a Crime Prevention Task Force to discuss what steps the community can take to reduce the possibility of this kind of event (and other criminal activity) taking place in Riverdale again. We will be posting meeting notices for the Task Force on the Riverdale website, social media (Facebook) and in the weekly e-newsletter.

UPDATE (08/15/18 @ 9:00 am): In a conversation this morning with Captain Joe Caffery of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, we learned that what happened in Riverdale is part of a larger problem throughout Scott County. Here’s what we know so far:

  • The people breaking into and stealing cars are “100% juveniles” and that the stolen cars are used for joy rides. Stolen vehicles are usually recovered in Davenport or Muscatine, although the car stolen from Riverdale has not yet been recovered.
  • According to Captain Caffrey, the Sheriff’s Office would like “all the help we can get” when it comes to catching the perpetrators. Residents are advised to be vigilant and take notice of any suspicious activity happening in their neighborhood, make note of the license plate number of suspicious vehicles and call in a report to 911.
  • Looking at all of the break-ins and auto thefts occurring throughout Scott County, it appears the perpetrators are testing car handles to see if the vehicles are unlocked and are taking loose change they find inside the vehicle.
  • The car thefts reported appear to be the result of the perpetrator finding the keys to the vehicle inside the car or truck once they’re inside.
  • Most of the stolen cars have been recovered in Davenport or Muscatine – although the car stolen from Riverdale on Saturday night has not yet been recovered.

The Captain offered to have someone from the Sheriff’s Office (either the Sheriff or another high-ranking representative) come and speak at a City Council or Town Hall meeting. (An invitation was sent this morning, once we have confirmation of an appearance, we will add it to this post and to social media.)

LOOK FOR A LETTER FROM THE CITY in your mailbox and via e-newsletter on Friday providing tips on what you can do to secure your vehicles and your home to reduce the risk of this type of crime.

UPDATE (08/13/18 at 11:55 am): Sources now tell us that up to three cars were broken into on Manor Drive last Saturday night. According to one source, a report was filed with the Scott County Sheriff’s office. The mayor has called the Sheriff’s office for further clarification and to see if any additional information can be obtained and shared with residents. More updates will be posted as they occur.

ORIGINAL STORY: Saturday night, August 11, 2018, a car was broken into on Manor Drive and a second car was stolen in the same neighborhood.

We ask all residents to remember to keep their cars locked when they’re parked and to not leave any valuables in plain sight inside their cars. It’s also recommended that you lock the door in your garage that leads into the living quarters of your house.

We will provide another update when we learn more from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.

See a problem that needs fixing? Let us know!

See a problem that needs fixing? Let us know!

Under a new process outlined for the City Council at Tuesday’s meeting, Public Works/Maintenance requests can be filed by citizens online using this Work Order Request Form found on the City’s website.

The form requires citizens to provide their contact information, the location of the issue being reported and a specific description of what they see as needing attention (along with the ability to attach photos or video) and then send that information to the City’s Public Works/Maintenance Person for attention.

The goal is to have a response from the City back to the resident within 2 business days.

This process is all part of a broader initiative to better document and measure the on-going maintenance needs of the City. By tracking the type of jobs performed by the City’s maintenance personnel, the Mayor and City Council can identify areas that may need more attention or investment to fully remedy.

The information will also be used in future contract negotiations with third-party service providers to clarify the expectations and scope of work set forth by the City in future contract negotations.

For now, the Work Order process is being tested and refined. Any comments you may have from your direct experience with the process are welcomed.

Please use the General Contact form on the website to let us know about your experience and recommendations for improvement.

Rules of the road – or, at least, the bike path.

Rules of the road – or, at least, the bike path.

Riverdale is a small city. But the bike path is a big deal.

And we’ve had more than a few residents express their concern and point out the safety hazards of how the MRT (Mississippi River Trail) crosses Manor Drive and, to a lesser extent, the Scott Community College Entrance on State Street.

I’ve also had a few “close calls” with bikers on the trail as they crossed my driveway – hidden by shrubs and scrub trees until the last possible moment. I’ll try to get that vegetation removed (it’s not mine), but the fact I’ve almost hit a biker or two makes the concerns raised by our citizens emphasizes the problem.

I also walk the bike path through Riverdale and Bettendorf several times a week and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later …

… nobody seems to know what they’re doing when it comes to riding or walking on the bike path.

I remember learning in elementary school (and Cub Scouts) that you were supposed to walk against traffic. That was true whether it was a city street or a private drive. By walking on the left-hand side of the street, you could see the on-coming traffic and avoid it if you had to. You also didn’t have to worry about having people come up behind you on bikes and startle you with a friendly “passing on your left” or, as I’ve more recently experienced, a not-so-friendly “hey, move over.”

The problem is, most people don’t seem to follow this rule when they walk or jog on the bike path. I suppose it’s possible they’ve never been taught the rule in the first place. But every time I walk my 5.4 mile route, I play a slow motion game of chicken with other walkers and joggers two or three times an outing.

Sometimes I get a friendly smile and nod, but usually people look put out that I’m on their side of the bike path.

It’s a little ridiculous.

Why is this a subject worth debating? I don’t think you have to look any further than the incident on the MRT in Davenport last June, when 76 year-old Ruth Morris was ridden down and killed by a bicyclist from behind.

So, what can we do about it?

I’d say the first line of defense (or offense, depending on your perspective, I suppose) is to re-evaluate the signage we have along the MRT. We have other issues with regard to directional signage, too, and I think all those can be addressed with some deliberation and creativity.

We can then take our ideas and put them into action with new signage along the MRT and other bike paths and by taking our work to Bettendorf to see if they would be interested in doing something along the same lines. Let’s face it, by working together, Bettendorf and Riverdale can make the entire community safer and more “citizen-friendly” whether you’re on a bike, walking or jogging along the trails.

But I suspect I’m only touching on a few of the possibilities. Let me know what YOU think we could do to make the bike trails safer for everyone who uses them by commenting below.

 

Grading to continue on Woods Estates project for the next 3-4 weeks

Grading to continue on Woods Estates project for the next 3-4 weeks

According to a status report from J+M Civil Design, LLC (the engineering firm working with Seth Woods on the Woods Estates subdivision in Riverdale), grading for streets, detention basins and storm water infrastructure will continue for the next three to four weeks. At that point, the “last phase of early grading is anticipated to begin.”

You can review the complete update from J+M’s Bryce Johnson by clicking here.

According to the report, the City Council will be able to review the subdivision’s final plat in September – approval of which would allow Mr. Woods enough time to install streets and utilities necessary for home construction over the winter season.

Deer and coyote hunting season in Riverdale begins September 16th.

Deer and coyote hunting season in Riverdale begins September 16th.

 

UPDATE (08/14/18 @ 10:30 pm): The City Council voted to amend and approve the proposed resolution, delaying the start date of the hunt by a day and clarifying language with regard to how close approved hunters may come to structures located in the community. The revised resolution will be posted to this website when it becomes available.

ORIGINAL STORY: The City of Riverdale will be licensing bow hunters to help control the deer and coyote population within the “Special Hunt Areas” designated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources within the city’s limits. The hunt is scheduled to take place this fall and winter, starting on September 16, 2018 (delayed one day because of Riverdale’s Fall Fest) and running through January 12, 2019.

According to the resolution under consideration by the City Council (which is similar to previous resolutions), each hunter must:

  • Obtain a Riverdale Hunting Permit (at $0);
  • Successfully complete an Iowa DNR bow hunter safety education course and proficiency test (taken annually);
  • Hunt in designated areas – and obtain permission from the owner of that parcel in advance;
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any residence, occupied building, church, city park, street and/or roadway (other than municipal property or school property);
  • Hunt during approved/designated hours and days;
  • Use proper field dressing techniques and not leave entrails;
  • Possess all licenses or permits required by the State, County or City;
  • Demonstrate compliance wit these requirements when asked;
  • Present harvested animals at the Spruce Hills Drive Fire Station (in Bettendorf) during specified hours.

A complete copy of the proposed (unmodified) resolution can be found by clicking here.

UPDATED: August 14, 2018 Regular Meeting

UPDATED: August 14, 2018 Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place on Tuesday evening, August 14th at 7pm.  The meeting will take place in the Council Chambers at Riverdale City Hall.

A copy of the agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking here.

A copy of the 100+ page information packet sent to Council Members can be found here.

A copy of the City Engineer’s report from MSA can be found here.

Meeting minutes will be posted following their approval at the following meeting of the City Council on August 28, 2018.

Does the mayor have a political agenda? You bet.

Does the mayor have a political agenda? You bet.

People love to speculate about other people’s motives for doing what they do. It’s natural. It’s human nature.

And it can be a colossal waste of time and energy.

Politicians are particularly susceptible to such speculation: Who’s ox will get gored next? Who’s pocket is he/she in?

And while I’m all for understanding the context and details of a subject – and try to keep an open mind as new facts pop up during the process of deliberation and decision-making – I’m horrible at “reading between the lines” to understand what motivates a person to say one thing and do another.

To complicate matters, I often forget there are people who are exactly the opposite of me. When I work with them, they’re always trying to “figure me out” and try to get ahead of the ball (so to speak). I suppose if they could, they would have an advantage when it came to influencing my decisions. But there’s one problem.

I’m not a “hidden agenda” type of guy. I like to lay stuff out for people to see and then engage in lively conversation about issues and opinions in order to clarify positions and strengthen arguments. Quite frankly, I enjoy conflict – when it’s friendly and civil – because competing ideas almost always yield a synthesis that’s better and stronger than the original parts.

So, while I don’t have a “hidden agenda” I do have a political one – designed to encourage civil discourse and creative conflict. The results of these kinds of interactions can be ideas that re-shape a community, save money and position us for the future.

My Political Agenda

Simply put, my goal as an elected official is to advance an programs and opportunities that focus on three areas:

  1. Communicate Clearly
  2. Engage Fully
  3. Act Intentionally

Clear Communications – I think it’s imperative we, as the leaders of the City, provide frequent updates on all issues to our residents and businesses. That communication needs to be clear and to the point. And issues need to be identified in a way that everybody can recognize the problems as they are and contribute to a solution.

Full Engagement – I’m always looking for ways to engage our citizens more fully. We need your input, opinions and help to make Riverdale a great place to live and raise a family. Look, we don’t have the financial resources (money) to pay for anything we want – we have to rely on our neighbors for help.

Encourage those you know in the City to subscribe to our e-newsletter and read our website or participate in Facebook discussions – that’s a great first step. And then, when you see a task force or committee doing something that interests you, join in. The more people involved in making Riverdale work as a community, help build a sense of community.

Act Intentionally – I’ve been around the block long enough to know that there’s a big difference between “just doing it” and “really doing it.” If we take on a project, we need to make sure we are in agreement as to what outcomes we want to achieve. And the path we take to achieve those outcomes should be clearly understood by everyone involved.

When we can work together toward a common set of goals and with our eyes (and minds) wide open, we can get their sooner and reap greater rewards in the process.

So “that’s my deal” – that’s my political agenda. I hope you’ll be a part of Riverdale’s success and join our team.