Riverdale mourns loss of firefighter Analiese Chapman

Riverdale mourns loss of firefighter Analiese Chapman

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Riverdale firefighter, Analiese Chapman, passed away from complications related to Cystic Fibrosis on Sunday, February 2, 2020. Analiese was a twenty year-old from Le Claire, Iowa and was remembered by her brothers and sisters at the Riverdale Fire Department for her spunk and great attitude.

“She joked around with everybody and pulled pranks on people,” Assistant Fire Chief Brian Ballard told Linda Cook, reporter for the Quad-City Times. “She was a very, very strong girl, probably the strongest girl I’ve ever known.”

“Her optimism really affected the department,” recalled Mayor Mike Bawden. “The guys and gals who make up the Riverdale Fire Department family were solidly part of ‘Team Analiese’ – showing their support and love for this young woman and her family in a truly extraordinary way.”

“It’s just one more thing that makes the Riverdale Fire Department a vital part of who we are here in Riverdale,” the mayor explained. Even though most of the fire department’s volunteers live outside of the City (like Analiese did), the RFD provides a shared “home” for everyone – and it’s been that way for over fifty years.

In a related story on the KWQC-TV website, reporter Courtney Spinelli, shared some footage of Analiese from an earlier story, detailing her fight against Cystic Fibrosis and her brave recovery attempt.

The statement provided by the Riverdale Fire Department announcing Alanliese’s passing, issued on Sunday afternoon, read:

It is with great sadness that the Riverdale Fire Department shares with the community that Riverdale Firefighter Analiese Chapman passed away on February 2, 2020 from complications related to Cystic Fibrosis.  Firefighter Chapman has been a member of the Riverdale Fire Department since November 2017.   Firefighter Chapman was blessed with a lung transplant in 2019 and unfortunately became ill this past December.  Firefighter Chapman will always, and forever be a firefighter and part of the Riverdale Fire Department family.  We ask everyone to please keep the Chapman family and the brothers and sisters of the Riverdale Fire Department in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  Funeral arrangements will be released in the upcoming days. 

The City will fly the Riverdale Fire Department flag at half-staff in her honor on Tuesday, February 4. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Riverdale to work with The Schebler Company to address traffic concerns

Riverdale to work with The Schebler Company to address traffic concerns

Located on Fenno Road, south of Hwy 67 (State Street), The Schebler Company employs dozens of workers who have to turn on and off of the busy state highway on their way to and from work every day. Late last year, Jim Anderson, the CEO of The Schebler Company asked for help from Riverdale, Bettendorf and the Iowa DOT to address what he saw as a growing safety concern for his employees and other motorists on the highway. 

Friday, Mayor Mike Bawden and Interim City Administrator, Lisa Kotter, met with Mr. Anderson and his team as well as representatives from IDOT, the City of Bettendorf, the Bi-State Planning Commission and the Quad City Chamber of Commerce in an attempt to quantify the issues at hand and discuss possible solutions. As a result, Riverdale will initiate requests with IDOT to conduct an independent study of traffic on that section of State Street and to identify possible traffic control solutions such as lights, barriers or other construction that will help make the intersection safer for motorists.

Riverdale and Bettendorf will also work together to increase enforcement of the speed limit on that section of State Street. Although the limit is set at 55 mph, cars are frequently traveling at higher rates of speed which makes it difficult for drivers attempting to cross traffic to evaluate whether or not it’s safe to venture across lanes of on-coming traffic.

Touring the plant

Following the meeting, Mr. Anderson and Lance McDanel, Vice President at The Schebler Company, gave a personal tour of their manufacturing facilities and offices to Mayor Bawden and Administrator Kotter.

Mayor Mike Bawden and Jim Anderson, CEO of The Schebler Company located on Fenno Road, south of State Street in Bettendorf.

The Schebler Company has been located next to Riverdale since 1990 and has grown to include a large custom fabrication operation in addition to its industrial chimney and HVAC fabrication operations. They aggressively invest in manufacturing technology and training to keep them competitive in the markets in which they operate. Products manufactured at their Bettendorf location are shipped to customers throughout the US and some international destinations.

According to material provided by the company:

Schebler has a reputation for exceptional workmanship and a relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, which sets them apart from their competition. Each of their products and services offer a unique value proposition through product design, delivery period, customer support, engineering, quality and/or manufacturing capabilities. Whether delivering a product or a service, Schebler strives to provide individualized solutions that meet the specific needs of their customers.

Riverdale is proud to have The Schebler Company as a good neighbor and looks forward to an on-going, mutually beneficial relationship in the coming years.

February 25 set as date for “max levy” public hearing for FY 21 property taxes

February 25 set as date for “max levy” public hearing for FY 21 property taxes

(Update: 01-29-20) The Riverdale City Council approved the notice of the “max levy” public hearing as part of its regularly scheduled meeting on February 25, 2020. For those who want to learn more about the structure of the City’s tax levy, current status of the FY 21 budget and process used to review and approve both, a public information session will be held as part of the regularly scheduled Town Hall meeting on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 2pm in the Community Room at City Hall.

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(Original Story: 01-25-20) A public hearing required under a new Iowa law, to establish a “ceiling” on the upcoming property tax levy for the coming year, will likely be held on February 25th (pending final approval from the City Council at its meeting on January 28th).

“The State of Iowa has established a new process for cities to follow for budgeting,” explained Interim City Administrator, Lisa Kotter. “Riverdale, just like the other 720+ cities in the State of Iowa, is required to hold a public hearing to inform residents of the maximum possible tax levy that may be issued for the coming fiscal year. Following that public hearing, the City will then have to schedule a second public hearing in March to review the budget and present the actual tax levy for the coming year (which will have to be equal to or lower than the “max levy” presented at the first hearing).”

In order to accommodate the second public hearing and additional notice period required (a period of up to 20 days), the State gave all of its cities a 16-day extension for filing budgets with their respective counties (from March 15th to March 31st).

“The public hearing for the “maximum levy” will be held as part of the regular City Council meeting set for February 25th at 7pm in Council Chambers,” explained Administrator Kotter. She noted the actual public hearing date still needs to be approved by the Council at Tuesday’s meeting (January 28th), but did not foresee any problems with gaining the needed okays.

Possible Sticker Shock

The administrator cautioned about reading too much into the initial information provided to the City Council to enable them to set a date for the “max levy” public hearing.

“If you’re just thumbing through the paperwork for our next City Council meeting, you’ll see the resolution for the “max levy” hearing includes a worksheet with a huge increase in the levy (up over 100%).” Administrator Kotter continued, “As the mayor and I work on putting the budget together, we do not expect the levy to be at that level when the budget is presented to the Council in March – but that number shows you what the tax rate would be if we increased the Regular General levy from where we are ($4.35823/thousand) to the maximum allowed by law ($8.10/thousand) and added in additional tax revenue to cover benefits related to staffing.”

The way the deadlines work with the State of Iowa, the decision was made to present a “worst-case scenario” for the “max levy” public hearing and stay focused on crafting a responsible, 0-based budget for FY21 (in accordance with a proposal presented by the mayor as part of the Council’s January 5th planning work session).

“The City of Riverdale is on solid ground financially,” said Administrator Kotter. “But while we won’t be anywhere near a “worst-case scenario” with our budget, by presenting it at the public hearing and having a conversation with Council Members and residents as part of that meeting, we leave all of our options open and can be more responsive as we work out the final budget in the weeks that follow.”

Next Steps

Once the date for the public hearing is approved by the City Council, the City will place an ad in the local paper and continue working on the FY21 budget in order to be able to provide as much information as possible on the status of the budget at the February 25th meeting. Two public intake meetings have already been held and the City Council has established some desired action items for the coming year as part of its goal-setting session on January 5th – all information needed to formulate a budget for the coming fiscal year.

The mayor and administrator still plan to facilitate at least one more public meeting with citizens interested in a more in-depth review and discussion of the budget while it’s being created for presentation to the City Council in March. The date for that meeting will be announced on-line, via social media and email and notices will be posted in public spaces at some point in the near future.

 

Do you want to caucus with your neighbors on Monday? Here’s where you go …

Do you want to caucus with your neighbors on Monday? Here’s where you go …

Be sure to participate in the democratic process as your friends and neighbors (and the rest of the state of Iowa) help kick off the 2020 Presidential election cycle with our first-in-the-nation caucuses on Monday evening (February 3rd). Caucuses start at 7pm (doors open at 6pm).

For Riverdale residents, the Democratic and Republican caucuses will be taking place in two different locations (not at Riverdale City Hall):

Democrats will be caucusing at Riverdale Heights Elementary School; 2125 Devils Glen Road, Bettendorf. The caucus chair, according to the Scott County Democrats website, is Jim Tucker. If you’re not sure what to do at the Monday night’s caucus, the county party is offering two general information/training sessions this weekend (at UFCW Hall on Central Park Avenue in Davenport). You can click here for more information about the classes.

Republicans will be caucusing at Pleasant Valley Junior High School (Room 56); 3501 Wisconsin Street, LeClaire. According to GOP Central Committee Chair, Dave Millage, in an interview in the North Scott Press this past week, he expects lower voter turnout compared to last election. “Four years ago, we had 16 candidates. This year, we have three and one major candidate.”

Rules for running the caucuses differ between the two parties, but the goal is generally the same: build party enthusiasm, bring forward concerns and issues that can be considered as planks in the party platform, select delegates to the party county conventions, encourage young people to get involved and participate as “junior delegates” and conduct a straw poll to identify the preferential US Presidential candidate for each, respective party.

We encourage every Riverdale resident of voting age to participate in the democratic process and get involved in one of the caucus events on Monday.

Council agrees to extend Administrator Kotter’s hours through the month of February

Council agrees to extend Administrator Kotter’s hours through the month of February

At Tuesday evening’s meeting, the City Council agreed to extend the hours allowed under Interim City Administrator, Lisa Kotter’s consulting contract to 40 hours per week through February. The additional hours are necessary given the ambitious goals and objectives set forth at the Council’s work session on January 5th.

As part of the resolution passed at last night’s meeting, the mayor is expected to work out the details of a full-time employment contract and transition plan with Administrator Kotter for review and consideration by the City Council in February. If things go according to plan and the proposed employment agreement is accepted by the Council, Administrator Kotter’s new employment arrangement would take effect March 1.

Iowa-American Water Company responds to news reports on water quality.

Iowa-American Water Company responds to news reports on water quality.

Relative levels of PFOA and PFOS found in water provided by IA-AM Water Company versus the EPA standard (graphic provided by Iowa-American Water).

Iowa-American Water Company has responded to a news report in Monday’s Quad-City Times that an environmental group found a large concentration of chemicals in the Iowa Quad City water supply. According to the report in the QC Times:

The Environmental Working Group tested water across the country for 30 toxic fluorinated chemicals in the water supply. Its testing in Davenport, conducted in August 2019, found 109.8 PFAS parts per trillion, the second highest in the country behind only Brunswick County, North Carolina. Those numbers are from a combined amount of nine chemicals found in the water supply.

Lisa Reisen, a spokesperson for Iowa-American Water contacted the City today and provided the following statement:

You may have heard some news regarding concerns around “toxic chemicals” in the drinking water in the Iowa Quad Cities.  First, I want to assure all of you that water provided by Iowa American Water is SAFE and meets all federal US. EPA and Iowa Department of Natural Resources regulations. At Iowa American Water, we understand the tremendous responsibility we have to provide our customers with safe water that meets all standards, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

Ms. Reisen continued, writing:

All locations where Iowa American Water provides water, including Riverdale, have levels well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS. In fact, our samples taken in late November 2019 resulted in combined PFOA and PFOS of 4.4 parts per trillion, which is significantly below the U.S. EPA’s health advisory level. We understand some Riverdale residents might have concerns if they saw some recent news coverage about a study published by the Environmental Working Group recently.

The complete statement plus talking points on the issue provided by the water company which was included with the email can be reviewed here:

City’s cash management policies under review

City’s cash management policies under review

As part of the Mayor and City Council’s focus on improving operating processes and customer service, the City of Riverdale’s cash management policy (adopted in 2016) is currently under review and will be updated accordingly.

Changes
  • The first change to the policy (to be considered at the City Council’s 01/28/20 meeting) will allow the City to maintain a cash drawer with a starting balance and to allow City staff to give change to customers paying with cash for bills owed to the City.

Further changes to the policy are expected in 2020.

Parks planning process kicks off with appeal to residents for participation

Parks planning process kicks off with appeal to residents for participation

Do you want to see improvements to Riverdale’s parks and trails? Do you have some great thoughts and ideas?

You are in luck because the City is at the very beginning stage of developing a Parks and Trail System Needs Assessment for Riverdale and we need your help!  We are looking for your input to help create a great guidebook for improving our community’s parks and trails.

This spring, the City will be releasing a Park System Survey and holding a Community Workshop focused on recreation and we need your input for both activities!

The creation of our Parks and Trail System Needs Assessment will be guided by a Steering Committee. If you’re passionate about improving Riverdale’s parks and trails, we need you to join the committee. 

The time commitment is not huge and you will not be required to write the plan.  The City has teamed with MSA Professional Services to assist in the creation of the plan; we just need a committee to help guide the plan’s development.  We anticipate the committee will meet 3 times for about an hour each over the next several months and much of the document review can be done at your convenience.  

Serving on this committee will an efficient use of your time to help improve your community! Please contact Council Member Anthony Heddlesten at anthonyheddlesten@outlook.com if you are passionate about Riverdale’s park and would like to serve on the committee.

Please look for more information on the survey and workshop in the coming months!

Council accepts public improvements related to Phase 1 of Woods Estates Subdivision at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.

Council accepts public improvements related to Phase 1 of Woods Estates Subdivision at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.

(Updated: 01-29-2020) The City Council accepted the conveyance of the public improvements offered by Woods Construction and Development on a unanimous vote.


(Original Story: 01-27-2020)

A drawing showing the public right-of-way and easements related to Phase 1 public improvements for Woods Estates of Riverdale. (click to enlarge)

Tuesday evening, at its regular meeting, the City Council of Riverdale will consider accepting the “public improvements” associated with the first phase of the Woods Estates of Riverdale subdvision. This means the City will receive and promise to maintain the sanitary sewer, storm sewer and street paving construction as part of the overall infrastructure for Riverdale. Not included in the conveyance at this time are the outlots (A and B) and detention basins located adjacent to the first phase.

Acceptance of the public improvements makes the intersection and first part of Madison Drive, Gwenyth Way and Mason Lane “city streets” that Riverdale will need to maintain and anyone who moves into homes on those streets will receive the same services (i.e. garbage/recycling pick-up, street cleaning and snow plowing) that all other Riverdale residents receive.

With the first homes currently under construction, it’s entirely possible people could be living in Woods Estates by during the second half of this year.

Notes and Conditions

There are certain conditions the developer needed to meet in order to hand over the streets and infrastructure to the City. As spelled out in the Development Agreement between Riverdale and Woods Construction & Development, those conditions are:

The sub-contractors who installed the sewers, built the roads, etc. need to stand behind their work for two years. That guarantee is provided in the form of a Maintenance Bond worth approximately $900k. Additionally, KE Flatwork, the sub-contractor who did the road paving will provide an additional, 2-year guarantee on a portion of Madison Drive that was not completely inspected prior to final paving to ensure no settling that might cause cracking or other problems with the road.

Woods Construction needed to show evidence that all costs related to the construction and installation of the public improvements were paid. Seth Woods provided waivers from all of his sub-contractors showing payment in full.

The construction of the public improvements needed to be completed in compliance with engineering drawings supplied and ok’d by the City. The City’s engineering firm, MSA Professional Services, reviewed the work against the approved drawings and provided a written opinion to the City that the work did, in fact, meet the requirements set forth in those plans and drawings.

Finally, Woods needed to promise to finish striping the road and marking the intersection with lanes once weather permitted this spring. Everyone agreed that trying to stripe/paint during the winter would be ineffective.

Official opening of Woods Estates of Riverdale set for February 5th

Official opening of Woods Estates of Riverdale set for February 5th

An official ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of Woods Estates of Riverdale has been set for 11am on Wednesday, February 5th. Residents of the city are invited to attend and join city officials, representatives from Woods Construction and Development and members of the Quad City Chamber of Commerce to mark the occasion.

If you’re unable to attend the event, don’t worry. We’ll add pictures and links to coverage of the event after it occurs to this post on our website.

Council to consider engaging Bohnsack and Frommert as the City’s accountant

Council to consider engaging Bohnsack and Frommert as the City’s accountant

The City Council will consider a proposal for accounting services from Bohnsack and Frommert, an accounting firm based in Moline, IL, that specializes in municipalities and has worked for Iowa communities including Clinton, Dubuque, and Muscatine. The proposal was solicited by Interim City Administrator Lisa Kotter and underwent a preliminary review by both Administrator Kotter and Mayor Mike Bawden.

The decision to identify and select a professional accounting firm to handle the bookkeeping and accounting services previously provided by former City Clerk Ron Fullerlove rather than finding a staff replacement came down to the following factors:

  • The city’s need for redundancy on several aspects of the bookkeeping process in order to safeguard against possible misrepresentation/fraud and to double-check against simple math or bookkeeping mistakes
  • The city’s on-going need for timely invoicing of fees for services to residents, commercial accounts and other parties
  • The city’s need to review, update, and manage the City’s sewer fund, billing, and reconciliation of payments received against outstanding accounts receivable
  • The city’s need for more useful financial statements than what’s currently generated through the current online bookkeeping system used by the City of Riverdale.

“While Ron’s work has always been very solid, and current City Clerk, Mary Francis Blevins is keeping up on the invoice coding and entry, there is a need for someone who has an accounting background to handle this job in an on-going capacity,” explained Mayor Bawden. “Ron is getting busier and busier in his new position, so that’s not a long-term solution, and it’s not fair to Mary Fran to try and learn how to be a bookkeeper on the fly.”

The cost of the proposal from Bohnsack and Frommert is in-line with what the City was paying Mr. Fullerlove for his accounting/bookkeeping services as City Clerk.

City considers going to a 5-day work week

City considers going to a 5-day work week

As part of its goal to re-organize the operations of city hall and create a more productive and responsive government, Mayor Mike Bawden and members of the City Council are considering the costs and benefits of expanding the hours of operation from 3 to 5 days a week and then staffing accordingly.

“We’ve been talking about doing this since August, when (then City Clerk) Ron Fullerlove left to take the County Administrator’s job in Henry County, IL,” explained the mayor. “Then, when (City Administrator) Tim Long took an early retirement, it became really clear that we needed to make some fundamental changes with the way we were structured and operating.”

The mayor pointed out that the City’s General Funds surplus is currently more than adequate to cover any additional costs incurred by adding the days to Interim Administrator Lisa Kotter’s current work schedule (taking her from 20-40 hours per week) for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Additional costs for a full-time City Administrator and Deputy/Administrative Assistant would be built into the FY21 budget. But the benefits of “increasing the City’s bandwidth” by adding more hours and capabilities to the City’s staff are, in his opinion, worth every penny.

“If we want high-performing people in positions like City Administrator, we need to be able to compete with other cities from a salary and benefits basis – and while we’re never going to be offering big-city money, we stand no chance of even getting consideration from a prospective employee if we can’t offer a full-time position,” explained Mayor Bawden.

Staff Changes

Are staff changes imminent with a shift from 3-days to 5-days? According to the mayor, probably.

“I don’t think the fact that we’ll be looking at everything we do and everybody who’s doing it will come as a shock to anyone – residents and staff, alike,” explained the mayor. “But we’re going to take our time and figure this out carefully. The end goal here is to get the City to be more efficient and more responsive for residents – and an important part of that is making sure we’re using every employee’s talents to the max. That means taking the things they don’t do well off their plate and replacing it with work where they can add considerable value to the City.”

Does that mean change? According to the mayor: definitely. “Things will be done differently, and that requires change,” said Mayor Bawden. “But that change may just mean a change in focus and re-alignment of hours. It may mean working on special projects that have languished for a while.”

“Whatever shape that change comes in, it means staff will need to be flexible and willing to go with the change. And that may be tough in the short-run. We’ll just have to see how things go.”

“The one thing we know,” he concluded, “Is that not changing is not an option.”