Download a copy of the FY21 Budget here

Download a copy of the FY21 Budget here

You can download a copy of the proposed FY 2021 budget for the City of Riverdale here, complete with a detailed memo from the Mayor how budgets were set and what the City expects to accomplish in the coming fiscal year. If you would like a hard copy of the memo, you can stop by City Hall to pick one up or call the office during regular business hours (Tue-Thu from 10a – 5pm) and ask to have a copy mailed to you.

The offer to mail copies of the budget memorandum pertain only to residents of Riverdale.

The City Council and Mayor ask residents to send us any questions they may have about the budget and plans detailed in the memo no later than 5pm on Friday, April 10th so they can be addressed at the next regular meeting of the Council on Tuesday, April 14th.

Please send all questions by using the form below, via email to, by regular mail (to City Hall; 110 Manor Drive; Riverdale, IA 52722) or by phone (563-355-2111).

Answers will be posted online and reviewed at the next City Council meeting prior to consideration of the budget for adoption and certification with the State of Iowa.

Please give us your name so we know who to contact, if requried.
It may be necessary for us to call you for follow-up. Please provide a phone number where we can reach you during normal business hours.
Please let us know what's on your mind. All questions are due by 5pm on Friday, April 10, 2020.
Final public intake session on FY 21 budget set for Thursday, March 19

Final public intake session on FY 21 budget set for Thursday, March 19

Mayor Mike Bawden announced that the final public intake session on the FY21 budget will be held Thursday afternoon (March 19) at City Hall. The meeting will start at 4:30 and is scheduled to end by 6pm.

The public intake session will include going through the budget memo prepared by the Mayor and shared with members of the City Council last week. Citizens will be invited to ask questions and suggest additions and/or modifications to the proposed budget during the meeting.

A final, edited version of the budget dialogue and budget document will be reviewed with residents at the Mayor’s Town Hall meeting on Sunday March 22 (at 2pm) and then again at the Budget Public Hearing scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday, March 24. The public hearing will be part of the City Council’s regular meeting.

Following the public hearing, the Council will consider adopting the FY 21 budget – taking the comments from the public hearing into consideration. At last year’s meeting of the City Council, the Council agreed to further reduce the tax levy for the coming year based on feedback from citizens at the preceding public hearing.

The current budget calls for a $.33/thousand increase in the general levy and the use of approximately $160,000 in additional funds from the City’s General Fund Reserve for the coming year.

The draft copy of the Budget Memo (including the budget) can be found here.

City Council unanimously agrees to set maximum general tax levy for FY21 at $400,000

City Council unanimously agrees to set maximum general tax levy for FY21 at $400,000

The Riverdale City Council voted unanimously to set a maximum, general tax levy for the coming fiscal year at $400,000. This number is based on the recommendations made by Mayor Mike Bawden during his budget presentation at the “Max Levy Hearing” conducted during the meeting on February 25th.

Although the City Council had approved a much larger levy earlier in the year – in order to allow the City staff to move ahead with posting a public notice for the 02/25 hearing, the intention was to have a much more closer estimate of the actual tax levy required for FY21 by the time of the public meeting. That original levy ($681,590) was approximately 70% higher than the max levy actually authorized by the Council.

FY21 Levy May Be Even Lower

During the budget presentation, the Mayor explained the actual levy required to make the numbers work for the coming fiscal year may be closer to $330 – $335,000, but upon the recommendation of Interim City Administrator, Lisa Kotter, the Council agreed to set the levy a little higher to provide some flexibility as the budget continues to be finalized.

As shown in the chart (below), the tax levy for the current fiscal year was $317,159 and the current budget shows an increase of only $14,000 (approximately $.23 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation after the state rollback). If these numbers hold up, the average home in Riverdale would see only a $23 per year increase in their city property taxes.

A complete copy of the presentation made at the Max Levy Hearing can be found here.

Next Steps

The Mayor explained that he would be working with the City’s accounting firm on March 10 to create a near-final draft of the budget that will then be made available for an in-depth review by the public at a meeting to be held later that week. That budget, plus notes from the public meeting, will be posted to the City’s website for review.

The final, draft version of the budget will be presented for review and discussion at the town hall meeting on Sunday, March 22 (at 2pm) and then again at the public budget hearing on Tuesday, March 24th (at 7pm).

The City Council will consider approving the final version of the budget as presented or in an amended form at their regular meeting following the public hearing. If needed, the City Council can delay their consideration for a week to allow the Mayor to revise and re-present a final draft of the budget for consideration at a meeting on Monday, March 30. 

An approved budget for FY21 is due to the Scott County Auditor for certification on March 31.

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.


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.

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.

  • 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.

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.”

FY 21 community intake meetings wrap up with a big “wish list”

FY 21 community intake meetings wrap up with a big “wish list”

Public intake sessions concerning the FY21 budget for the City of Riverdale wrapped up Monday evening (December 2nd). Consultant Lisa Kotter, former City Administrator for Moline, IL and Geneseo, IL, took notes and provided perspective to questions and suggestions made by citizens and Council Members present.

A variety of ideas were offered up for consideration by the City Council and the Budget Planning Committee who will now work on a draft of the FY21 budget which will be presented to the public in a budget hearing sometime in February of 2020. The budget needs to be finalized and certified by Scott County (prior to submission to the State of Iowa’s Department of Management) by March 31, 2020.

Lots of ideas offered – now the hard work begins

Citizens offered a variety of ideas focusing on the city amenities and issues that concerned them the most. And while some of the items discussed were already in work, Council Members and the Mayor took note of the topics and proposed solutions in an attempt to craft an operational budget that would be more responsive to residents’ concerns than those from past years.

Ideas offered for consideration included the following:

•  Upgrading the playground equipment in Bicentennial Park (and removing old equipment)
•  More extensive parks planning and development of an integrated landscape plan for the City
•  Removing/replacing the wooden fence at the Havens Acres playground
•  General improvements of the parking area on Bellingham Road to turn it into a “destination” for bike riders (away from Havens Acres)  •  Expand the number of events in the community
•   Remove dead trees that pose a risk of falling into roadways and parks
•  Address storm water runnoff concerns coming out of the pipe at the end of Fieldcrest Road
•  Solve the drainage issues behind the homes on Manor/Circle Drives
•  Install cameras at city parks
•  Install security cameras on either end of Kensington to address bikers and runners not yielding to neighborhood traffic
•  Community entrance signage on State Street, Valley Drive and by PVHS
•  Install solar panels with the new roof on City Hall
•  IT upgrades at City Hall and in the fire station
•  Public Wi-Fi at Volunteer Park
•  Barrier fence between the MRT and Havens Acres homes
•  Investigate using shrubbery or other plants to establish a barrier between MRT and Havens Acres homes
•  Smoke test the rest of the sanitary sewer lines in Riverdale
•  Address long-term equipment needs for the fire department
•  Periodic audits of the City’s finances by an independent, third-party (not the State of Iowa)
•  Develop a policy for handling budget surpluses when they occur
•  Review City staffing alignment and whether or not City Hall should be open 5 days a week vs the current, part-time arrangement

The mayor will be reviewing the complete list of projects and other budget-related notes with each member of the City Council as part of the annual goal-setting/planning process. A work session for members of Council will be held in January to discuss projects and the budget issues identified by the Planning Committee working on the FY21 budget. The time and date of that meeting will be posted to the City’s website and social media. The public is welcome to attend and observe, but there will not be any public input or participation in the meeting.

The public will be able to provide additional input on the FY21 budget as part of the mayor’s Town Hall meeting scheduled for Sunday, January 26th at 2pm.

Residents are also invited to leave comments on this post as part of the on-going dialog with the City concerning next year’s operating budget.

Don’t forget to attend the FY21 Budget public intake session on Monday, December 2!

Don’t forget to attend the FY21 Budget public intake session on Monday, December 2!

The second public intake session for the City of Riverdale’s FY21 Budget is scheduled for 7pm on Monday, December 2nd.

The meeting will take place in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Lisa Kotter, a consultant retained by the City to assist with the review and formulation of the coming fiscal year’s budget will be in attendance to speak with citizens and take notes. Ms. Kotter is the former city administrator for the City of Moline and has an advanced degree in public administration.

Following the public intake session, a series of budget work sessions will be scheduled and announced. Council Member Cheryl Channon will chair the meetings held in 2019 but her term expires at the end of the year, so she will be stepping down from that position on December 31. The Council Member selected to chair the budget meetings in 2020 has yet to be named.

If you’re interested in participating in the budget work sessions, please let us know.

Riverdale’s FY 2019 Annual Financial Report filed with the State of Iowa

Riverdale’s FY 2019 Annual Financial Report filed with the State of Iowa

The City of Riverdale filed its state-mandated “Annual Financial Report” (AFR) with the Iowa Department of Management in advance of the December 1 deadline this week. 

Total revenues for FY19 were approximately $1.19 million versus a budget of $2.89 million. Major differences between actual amounts and projected budget amounts reflects a change in the way the City used to budget for grant receipts whether grants were applied for or not.

On the expense side, actual expenses for the fiscal year were approximately $1.11 million versus a budgeted amount of $2.69 million – the primary difference being the projected use of grant monies during the year. Because no grant money was received, the money was not expended.

According to the AFR, the City’s general fund balance grew an additional $86,000 during the year to nearly $1.58 million. Since the end of the FY19, the City has identified a number of projects that need to be completed and can be pad for with the excess general funds available. The projects include:

  • Establishing an emergency reserve ($150,000)
  • Street improvements to the Havens Acres neighborhood ($300,000)
  • Improvements to Bellingham Road ($275,000)
  • Repairs/replacement of the roof of Riverdale City Hall ($50,000)
  • Surveying and installing a barrier fence between the MRT and the Havens Acres neighborhood ($50,000)
  • IT infrastructure upgrade for the City ($15,000)

More projects will be identified and budgeted as time goes on.

The City of Riverdale changed it’s approach to budgeting for the current, 2020 Fiscal Year to more accurately reflect revenues and expenses in our budget reports and annual report. Grant money – or money from other sources – will be shown as additional revenues when they are received and not included in the annual budget.

A complete copy of the AFR can be viewed by clicking here.

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.