Change in public interaction planned for future Council Meetings

Change in public interaction planned for future Council Meetings

The last three City Council meetings have been tough.

Lots of good questions. A number of resolutions passed. Progress made on several projects. Even a bit of emotion on sensitive topics.

But they’ve also been exhausting.

Each of the last three meetings has exceeded three hours in length. And that’s not a good thing.

I like to meet and discuss issues with people and to work until the work is done. But once a meeting gets into its third hour, something changes. People get impatient, decision-making gets rushed, words are said that are best left unsaid and the structure starts to break down.

I thought, after the first two meetings, that we would be able to work through the meetings more quickly – but our third meeting was the longest one of all. And for the first time in a long time, people were getting angry.

Don’t get the idea that I don’t like conflict. Quite the contrary. I work in a creative field that requires people to be passionate about their ideas and to argue for them (and against others). That kind of conflict can be great when it comes to synthesizing new ideas from the options available.

But anger gets in the way of all that.

And the kind of anger that was on display at our last meeting came from a place of fatigue and frustration as well as a result of passion for one project or another. There’s something good that can be mined from that – but one part of it, the fatigue, is a problem that needs to be managed another way.

That’s why I listened to what members of the City Council, some audience members and those with experience in other city administrations had to say and have modified the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting. I hope the modified agenda will still encourage public interaction/discourse, as well as streamline the reporting and discussions so we can accomplish the same amount of business in less time.

Change in Public Input Opportunities

When I first joined Riverdale as its mayor, I wanted to find a way to encourage greater discourse between the City Council and its residents. That’s why I’ve always asked residents for the topics they wanted to discuss and attempted to involve them in conversations on those topics at the appropriate time within the agenda.

That’s now going to change (a little).

After we go through the consent and regular agendas (making modifications where needed), I’ll ask those present if they wish to address the Council on any matter on the agenda. Depending on the number of people who wish to speak, I’ll set a time limit for each speaker (every speaker will have the same amount of time) and set the order. Speakers will introduce themselves and the topic they wish to speak about (for the record) and can then make their statement. I will keep time.

A couple of things to know about how I intend to keep time:

1. I’ll let you know when you’re coming to the end of your available time;

2. I’ll let you finish your thought when your time expires; and

3. If you’re just repeating what other people have said before you, I’ll ask if you have anything new or further to add – and if you don’t, you’ll be asked to sit down.

The next section of the agenda is intended to be for informational purposes. These are activity reports and project updates. Members of the Council are allowed to ask questions for more clarity, if required.

The next section of the agenda focuses on Council actions: ordinances, resolutions and motions. For each action, someone (either me – as mayor – or a city staff person) will provide a little background on the action first (what is the action, why is it proposed, how much will it cost, when will it be done). A motion and a second are then required to consider the action by the City Council. The Council will then deliberate and take a decision (i.e. accept, reject or table).

After all the actions have been taken by the Council, we move on to the discussion phase of the meeting. The Council discusses a variety of issues by department with some input from staff or other subject experts who may be invited to provide additional background information. We will work to identify a “next step”on each issue for future consideration/action by the City Council.

Following my wrap-up/summary (the REPORT FROM THE MAYOR), we open the meeting up to more public input. This is an opportunity for those present to offer their thoughts, observations, etc. on the business conducted at the meeting and to raise any other issues they would like the City Council to discuss in a future meeting. The time available for this portion of the meeting will be set by me, as the mayor, and will then be equally divided among all residents who desire to speak to the City Council.

A special note about “Closed/Executive Sessions”

You’ll note that on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting (11/26), the City Council is planning on going into a “Closed Session.” These sessions are held in accordance with the State of Iowa’s Open Meetings Laws and are available to City Councils when discussing legal strategy and/or personnel matters (when requested by the subject of the discussion). No action is taken in these closed sessions and the minutes from these sessions are not available for public review.

I look forward to seeing you at our next City Council Meeting. Hopefully, we’ll have you home in time to watch the 10pm news.

Why our flags were at half-staff today.

Why our flags were at half-staff today.

Res. Marine Pvt. Channing R. Whitaker

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in Iowa to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, November 22, 2019 to honor fallen Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Channing R. Whitaker. 

Flags were flown at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags were also at half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state. Riverdale has now subscribed to alerts from the state capital and Washington, DC related to flag protocols for official days of mourning and celebration. 

According to a news release from Governor Reynolds’s office, it took over 75 years to find and return Pvt. Whitaker to his home state of Iowa from where he was lost in the Pacific during this country’s war against Imperial Japan:

Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Channing R. Whitaker, of Granger, Iowa was killed in action on November 22, 1943. Pvt. Whitaker was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Pvt. Whitaker’s remains were accounted for on May 29, 2019.

The Battle of Tarawa during World War II

Pvt. Whitaker was buried with full military honors, Friday afternoon (November 22, 2019) in a memorial service at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa.

A more complete story about Pvt. Whitaker and how his remains were returned home to Iowa can be found in this article in the Clinton Herald newspaper.

Fiber optic service plan moved to two-phase approach

Fiber optic service plan moved to two-phase approach

In a recent email to the City of Riverdale, MetroNet’s Governmental Affairs Manager, Dan Casciato, now puts the roll-out of the fiber service on a two-phase track.

The residences on the top of the hills overlooking the valley are expected to be completed in late February while the Havens Acres neighborhood is not expected to be done until mid-April. 

This information was provided as part of an email to the mayor requesting an opportunity to sit down and discuss the available of fiber optic access at the City’s parks, City Hall/Fire Station and commercial property currently under development.

More information and updated schedules will be provided to residents as available.

City Administrator Tim Long announces retirement, effective December 3, 2019

City Administrator Tim Long announces retirement, effective December 3, 2019

City Administrator, Tim Long, submitted his notice of retirement to Mayor Mike Bawden earlier this week. His last regular day of employment will be December 3, 2019. In the letter, dated Monday, November 18, Mr. Long stated:

For the past thirty years, I have been gratified to serve as administrator for communities in Illinois and Iowa, and I have been especially proud of being chosen to serve as first-time administrator for the City of Riverdale. It has been gratifying to work with you and the other thoughtful people chosen to serve the needs and goals of the community. It has been especially satisfying to see Riverdale continue to refine its long-run goals and objectives, and manage growth and development toward better outcomes.

It is time for me to turn over those administrative tasks of Riverdale to other hands. As well, at my tender age, I have come to terms with the clear understanding that time and good health are fleeting, and the completion fo projects, and the building of important relationships call for both time and good health. Therefore, this letter constitutes my two weeks’ notice of retirement, and resignation. If you and the Council determine it to be in the best interest of the Council, that date could be advanced. Alternately, I can be available to assist you and the Council in the development of agenda items or other matters to which I could be of assistance, until December 20th, when I wish to prepare for my sons’ families return home from afar for Christmas.

Finally, I want to thank you, Mike, and the members of the City Council who have been supportive of our efforts at making Riverdale’s local government more effective, transparent, and responsive. I have gained a great deal of respect for all of you, as well as for our staff and consultants over these past two and-a-half years. I wish you well, and would be pleased to cross paths with you in the future.

The City Council will meet in an executive session at the end of the Tuesday’s City Council meeting to discuss this personnel issue and options to consider for moving forward in both the short and long-term. Decisions on immediately pressing issues and longer-range plans will be shared with the community through this website and our e-newsletter once they are clearly defined.

Meeting Notice: Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting (11-24-19)

Meeting Notice: Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting (11-24-19)

There will be a town hall meeting in the Community Room at City Hall on Sunday, November 24 at 2pm. While the meeting is informational in nature and serves as an open forum, there are usually a few items on the agenda the mayor wishes to address. Please come with an open mind and questions for city representatives and your neighbors.


The agenda for the meeting follows:

Riverdale City Hall, 110 Manor Drive
Council Chambers Room

DATE:    Sunday November 24, 2018
TIME:    2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.




  1. Welcome and Introductions:
  2. General Discussion:
    • Snow Removal/Management
    • Fiber Optic Service Update
    • Woods Estate Update
    • Budget Intake Sessions
    • Havens Acres/MRT Status Update
    • Other Capital Projects Scheduled for 2020
    • Christmas Tree Lighting
    • City Calendar
    • Website Enhancements
  3. Open Discussion
  4. Adjourn

If you can’t make it, but have a topic or two you think needs to be discussed, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

See you then!

Meeting Notice: Regular City Council Meeting (11-12-19)

Meeting Notice: Regular City Council Meeting (11-12-19)

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place on Tuesday evening, November 12th at 7pm.  The meeting will take place in the Council Chambers at Riverdale City Hall.

Please check back to this page on the website for further updates:

  • The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting can be found here.
  • Minutes of the last meeting (10-22-19) can be found here.
  • A copy of the warrants that are proposed to be paid can be found here.
  • A current treasurer’s report can be found here.
  • Correspondence from MSA Professional Services include:
    • A letter on the sanitary sewer manhole tests conducted at Woods Estates (11-04-19)
    • A memo on Riverdale’s appeal to FEMA for mapping the Havens Acres Neighborhood (11-05-19)
  • Correspondence concerning the Woods Estates Development:
    • A progress report on the Woods Estates development will be posted here as soon as it is prepared.
    • A copy of the current SWPP report can be found here.
    • A memo from the City Administrator concerning approval of the Woods Estates Subdivision Plat (11-06-19) can be found here.
  • A copy of the revisions to Ordinance #210 (Ordinance 2019-210) can be found here.
  • A copy of the revisions to Ordinance #211 (Ordinance 2019-211) can be found here.
  • Resolutions to be considered by the City Council include:
    • Resolution 2019-44: Cancellation of the regularly scheduled City Council meeting for December 24, 2019
    • Resolution 2019-45: Authorization of hiring an interim employee to assist the Mayor and Council with preparation of the FY21 City Budget
    • Resolution 2019-46: Appvoal of a professional services agreement with MSA for MS4 Stormwater Sewer Permit Engineering, Administration and Technical Assistance
    • Resolution 2019-47: Approval of a professional services agreement with MSA for the Fieldcrest Road Stormwater Project
    • Resolution 2019-48: Approval of an amendment to the current professional services agreement with MSA for the Havens’ Acres Roadway Improvement Project
    • Resolution 2019-49: Authorization of a 28E Agreement with EICC/SCC for reimbursement of snow removal costs on College Drive
    • Resolution 2019-50: Consideration of a quote for asphalt overlay and other driveway/apron fixes at the Riverdale Fire Station
  • The current period’s Public Works/Maintenance Report can be found here.
  • A memo from the City Administrator suggesting regular P&Z Meeting dates for 2020 can be found here.
  • Meeting minutes will be posted following their approval at the following meeting of the City Council on November 26, 2019.


  • A complete packet of material delivered to City Council Members can be found here.

If you require copies of materials prior to their anticipated post dates, please call City Hall (563-355-2511) during regular business hours and ask if copies of those documents are available. In the event requests are made for large documents (over 20 pages) are made, there may be a photocopying charge. Please be sure to ask prior to requesting copies.

How was the first plow of the new year? We want to know.

How was the first plow of the new year? We want to know.

Well, the first snow of the year hit us a little early – but thanks to our friends in the public works department at The City of Bettendorf, our streets were plowed and cleared on time and as promised.

But what did you think of the service? Please take a minute and answer this 4-question survey so we can use the feedback as part of a meeting officials from the City of Riverdale will be having with Bettendorf public works management as we discuss how the plowing and snow removal services are provided in the future.

Create your own user feedback survey
Resolutions reached on two lingering issues in favor of the City of Riverdale.

Resolutions reached on two lingering issues in favor of the City of Riverdale.

City Administrator, Tim Long, reports that agreements have been reached in two matters that have been on the Council agenda for the past few months:

1. An agreement with the driver of a car that took out a tree at Volunteer Park earlier this year will re-pay the City for the cost of removing the damaged tree and replacing it with a similar one. The re-payment plan extends over 24 months and is the result of a direct outreach made by the driver (who didn’t have insurance but accepted responsibility and accountability for the accident).

2. After receiving a letter from the City concerning how they were to remove the brush cleared on City property behind their home, a Deerbrook couple have agreed to repair the damage in the spring. A date certain to be confirmed in writing is expected later this week.

Elections scheduled for today from 7am – 8pm

Elections scheduled for today from 7am – 8pm

The polls open in Tuesday’s election at 7:00 am and close at 8:00 pm.

The times were inaccurate on other material provided (including the calendar post card that was mailed to residents last week).

The polling place remains the same: The Community Room at Riverdale City Hall

Cameron Adams selected for membership in the National Honor Society.

Cameron Adams selected for membership in the National Honor Society.

Cameron Adams, 343 Manor Drive, was recently selected for membership in the PVHS chapter of the National Honor Society. Cameron is the son of Kevin and Dawn Adams.

The National Honor Society is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to recognizing outstanding high school students. These students have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership and character. In addition to recognizing students for their accomplishments, the NHS also challenges them to remain actively engaged in their community and school.

Last year, the PVHS chapter of the  NHS had around 200 members.

“I had the honor of writing a recommendation on Cameron’s behalf earlier this fall,” said Riverdale’s mayor, Mike Bawden. “Cameron racked up numerous service learning hours helping our City Administrator and other office personnel on a variety of projects including identifying possible contractors to help us deal with our coyote problem last year. As a part of the project, Cameron made a presentation to the Council for their consideration.”

“It’s rare to find teenagers who are willing to take on these kinds of problems, work with adult mentors and see the project all the way through. It was a pleasure to recommend him for induction into the National Honor Society.”

Cameron’s work on this issue was featured in a Channel 4 News story in January of this year.

Cameron is a junior at Pleasant Valley High School which is located in Riverdale, Iowa.

Public intake sessions for the FY21 budget have been scheduled

Public intake sessions for the FY21 budget have been scheduled

Public intake sessions have been scheduled to allow residents of Riverdale to provide their thoughts on how the City should spend its tax dollars during the next fiscal year. The FY2021 budget is due to be submitted to the State of Iowa by mid-March 2020.

The 2021 fiscal year (FY21) starts in July of 2020 and runs through June of 2021.

The dates for the public intake sessions are Monday, 11/18 and Monday, 12/02. The meetings are scheduled to start at 7pm and will be held in the Council Chambers.

Both meetings will follow the same, general format as our Town Hall meetings and will encourage conversation between everyone present. Notes will be taken and shared via the City’s website and for personal review at City Hall during regular business hours. No deliberation or decisions on budget matters will be conducted at these meetings.

As discussed by the City Council at its 10/22 meeting, the purpose of the meeting is …

… to gather information and input from citizens about top priorities for the coming 18-24 months. These meetings are intended to be for informational purposes only. 

The mayor will be present for both meetings and will serve as the chair to convene the meetings and moderate the conversation.


The value of volunteerism.

The value of volunteerism.

I lost a friend of mine last week.

The man the Quad Cities (and a good number of folks who live outside the region) knew as “Happy Joe” passed away last week. The world is a little less fun without Joe’s bright personality, humor and unbridled passion to help people of all ages and abilities as a result.

I knew Joe most of my life. And I feel fortunate to be friends with a number of his children and employees. For a while, I even helped advertise “Happy Joe’s” and tell its story that connected food and fun in a truly unique way.

But probably the most meaningful interaction (and enjoyable adventure) I had with Joe started in 2012, when I was asked to help the Whitty family launch the Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation – an organization focused on building on Joe’s life-long passion for including and cherishing kids of all ages who have special needs. This foundation was (and continues to be), without question, a true and pure reflection of what drove Joe all of those years he was at the helm of Happy Joe’s and, later in life, working with his kids and long-time employees to continue building the business as an advisor and “top advocate” of the Happy Joe’s brand.

And while I’m not here to shill for the foundation, I am here to promote what its success represents – the good things that can come from just one individual dedicated time and effort in pursuit of a cause that’s bigger than them.

I’ve been blessed in my life to spend time working for a variety of organizations, like the Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation, that I feel make a difference in the lives of people. Whether it’s the Pleasant Valley Schools Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America or my church – I’ve always been happy to contribute my time and talent to further the mission of those organizations.

In a similar vein, I’ve had the honor of serving as the mayor of Riverdale for the past two years. Sure, there’s a stipend that goes with the job, but I was never interested in serving because of the money, anyway. I was asked to run and did so without having any prior experience on the City Council or in an elected position. It took some time to get up to speed on the job and I’ve managed to shake a few things up along the way.

But in my view, Riverdale was in need of a wake-up call. Plans needed to be created. Processes need to be documented. The status quo needed a shake-up. And while we managed to accomplish all of those things, there’s still a lot of work to do.

There’s much more needed here than volunteering to come to a couple of meetings a month. And although it seems like progress is slow, it is coming.

Whether or not I’ll continue in that position depends on Tuesday’s vote. But know this, it’s been an honor and my pleasure to work with members of the City Council, to get to know my neighbors and to begin the process of taking Riverdale to the next level of responsive and responsible governance.

Win or lose, I’m committed to doing what I can to help Riverdale get there. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to continue pushing forward as Riverdale’s mayor through 2021. But the event I don’t get re-elected, I’ve promised to help my opponent get up to speed on the wide variety of issues and opportunities facing our City. Similarly, my opponent has promised to stay involved with the City if I win – which is essential if we hope to build a community culture of pitching in and making a difference in the quality of life we enjoy here in Riverdale.

It all starts again on Tuesday. Please be sure to vote. Take part in our democratic process and voice your interest in our community’s future.

Because no matter how the vote turns out, Riverdale wins.