Town Hall Meeting scheduled for October 21, 2018

There will be a special town hall meeting on Sunday, October 21st at 2pm to discuss possible capital projects for the City Council to consider at its next meeting on Tuesday, September 23rd.

 

The monthly Mayor’s Town Hall meeting is set for this coming Sunday (October 21st) at 2pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.

The agenda for the meeting follows:

MAYOR’S TOWN HALL MEETING
Riverdale City Hall, 110 Manor Drive
Council Chambers Room

 

DATE:    Sunday October 21, 2018
TIME:    2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

WORK SESSION FOR THE MAYOR, COUNCIL, RESIDENTS OF RIVERDALE AND ANY OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES.

THE PURPOSE OF THE WORK SESSION IS TO INFORM AND TO HEAR INPUT FOR FUTURE ACITIVIES OF RIVERDALE

Agenda:

  1. Welcome and Introductions:
  2. General Discussion:
    • Comprehensive Plan Review Schedule
    • Discussion of Possible Capital Projects for Council Consideration
  3. Adjourn

Please come with your thoughts, comments and fresh ideas!

See you then!

City to conduct sewer study

The Riverdale City Council voted to conduct a video inspection of the City’s sanitary sewer lines as part of its on-going management and maintenance of sewer and stormwater lines in the City.

The Riverdale City Council voted to authorize the City’s engineering firm, MSA Professional Consultants, to begin the process of supervising a video inspection of the City’s sanitary sewer lines. The inspection, conducted by the Bettendorf Public Works department, will help identify breaks in the sanitary sewer line where stormwater and other chemicals can mix with the raw sewage and, more importantly, where the raw sewage might be able to seep out into the ground surrounding the sewer line.

Assessing the state of the sewer lines in the City is important because Davenport, Bettendorf, Panorama Park and Riverdale are all entering into a negotiation concerning the joint sewer lines owned and managed by the four cities. Each city pays for its section of the sewer line (which eventually runs into the waste treatment facility in West Davenport) according to the amount of material flowing through the line.

In short, the tighter and more secure the line, the less material mixes with the sewage and the less “flow” coming from the City. Lower flow means lower costs.

If we’re able to share video from the inspection, we’ll be posting it to this webpage. In the meantime, here’s the best sewer inspection video we could find on YouTube …

Early voting begins TODAY!

Early voting for the 2018 election (scheduled for Tuesday, November 6th) began today, October 9th. Mayor Mike Bawden reminds us how important it is to exercise your right to vote – no matter what party or candidate you support.

Today’s the start of something new – maybe. Maybe not.

One thing’s for sure, by the time voting wraps up on the evening of November 6th and the last votes are counted (sometime around mid-November), the political landscape of our county, state and nation will have changed yet again.

For some, this is really upsetting. Change can be hard to take. Especially if you’re not ready for it.

Especially if you’re not in control of it.

But, you see, that’s the great irony to all of this. We are, in fact, in control of the amount of change our elected officials bring on our communities. We have the ultimate power.

We can vote.

Riverdale residents can count ourselves fortunate for living in Scott County, where we have a strong, bi-partisan interest in making sure elections are free, fair and accessible. Our County Auditor, Roxanna Moritz, provides a lot of essential voter information on the County’s website (click here to open it in a new browser window).

Here are some important things to keep in mind (courtesy of the Scott County Auditor’s Office):

EARLY VOTING

If you’re going to vote before November 6th (and a lot of people – including yours truly – do), keep in mind that the polls officially open October 9th (today) at the Assessor’s office in downtown Davenport and at other, satellite locations starting Wednesday, October 10th (click here for a full list).

The most convenient places for Riverdale residents to vote early are probably Scott Community College (tomorrow only from 10am to 4pm) and the Bettendorf Public Library starting Monday, October 15th and running through Saturday, November 3rd).  Not all early voting stations are open during the same times. So, voting early might mean taking off a little early from work or over an extended lunch hour, to make sure your vote gets cast.

Once you’ve figured out where to vote, you might want to make sure your voter registration is valid. Fortunately, that’s easy to do online (click here).

Have more questions about early voting? Here’s a link to the page on the County Auditor’s website that provides all the answers.

ELECTION DAY VOTING

The voting laws in Iowa have changed since the last general election. The Iowa legislature enacted a law making it mandatory that a person present an ID when voting on Election Day. So be sure to bring one of the authorized ID’s:

  • US Passport
  • US Military ID
  • Veteran’s ID
  • Iowa Driver’s License
  • Iowa Non-Operator ID Card
    (For voters without an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID, you can receive a special voter registration ID which is received in the mail and must be signed BEFORE arriving at the poll.)

If you forgot your ID, you can sign an oath attesting to your identity and vote a regular ballot. But that rule is in place for THIS YEAR ONLY. After this November, you must provide an ID, have another registered voter attest to your identity or vote a “provisional” ballot will not be counted until you’ve presented a valid ID to the Auditor’s office.

So, does all this seem like a big hassle?

Maybe so. But if you want things to change, there’s only one way to take control and make sure that change happens.

Vote.

Even if it’s a hassle.

City-wide cleanup set for October 20th

Riverdale’s City-wide cleanup day is Saturday, October 20th. Bulky waste will be picked up that day as well. You’ll find more details inside.

UPDATE (October 6, 2018)
Residents are advised that bulky waste pick-ups are scheduled to start at 7am on Saturday, October 20th. In order to make sure your bulky waste is picked up that day, please have it out the night before.

ORIGINAL STORY
At the Mayor’s Town Hall meeting on September 23, Council Member Anthony Heddlesten announced that he was working out the details for a citywide clean-up day on October 20th.

Council Member Heddlesten said he had already contacted the Waste Commission of Scott County about helping to provide iLiveHere garbage bags, gloves, tongs and safety vests. The vests, tongs and left-over materials will need to be returned to the Waste Commission after the event.

The date for the citywide clean-up corresponds to the bulky waste pick-up date the City has scheduled with its waste hauler, Republic Services.

Not sure how to get things ready for bulky waste pickup? Republic provides critical information via this corporate video on the subject:

Council Member Kelly Krell said that she hoped to recruit residents to form a team focused on park clean-up that day. If you’re interested in learning more, want to participate in cleaning up your yard and neighborhood, or would like be part of a team cleaning up the City’s parks or roadways, please let us know by clicking here.

Planning & Zoning Commission to meet October 18, 2018

A meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission has been called for 7pm on Thursday, October 18, 2018 at City Hall to review and discuss the final plat of the first phase of the Woods Estates of Riverdale Subdivision.

A meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission of the City of Riverdale has been called for Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Community Room at City Hall. An official notice will appear in the Quad-City Times on Thursday, October 11th and will be posted to the City’s public notice board on the North side of City Hall.

The meeting is a public hearing and will involve reviewing the final plat for the first phase of the Woods Estates of Riverdale Subdivision, developed by Seth Woods and Woods Development.

Notices will be sent to every resident of Riverdale, per City code.

ABOUT WOODS ESTATES
The Woods Estates Subdivision is a 94.69 acre residential subdivision located southwest of Manor Drive and northwest of State Street/US 67 and was formerly known as the Welch farm. Phase I of the subdivision covers approximately 17.7 acres and includes thirteen sign family lots and two outlets for the stormwater management detention basins which will be used for the entire subdivision.

All interested persons are invited to appear and be heard at the meeting. Interested persons are also encouraged to submit written comments on these proposals. Comments should be sent to:

Tim Long, Zoning Administrator
Riverdale City Hall
110 Manor Drive
Riverdale, IA 52722

Written comments must be received by 5pm on Thursday, October 18.

If you have any further questions, you can reach Mr. Long by calling City Hall: 563-355-2511

City to consider spring road project.

Mayor Mike Bawden has asked the City’s engineering firm, MSA Professional Services, the develop a proposal for up to $650,000 in street repair/maintenance work to begin in the spring of 2019. More details are inside.

In a memo dated, September 27, 2018, Mayor Mike Bawden asked the City’s engineering firm, MSA Professional Services, to develop a proposal for up to $650,000 in road repair and maintenance work to begin in the spring of 2019. Funds for the project(s) would come from the unspent reserves in the City’s general fund and from the City’s road use tax fund.

In the memo, the Mayor asked MSA to bring forward a proposal and timeline for a scope of work they feel would yield the “best, long-term impact for the money spent.” The Mayor asked particular attention be paid to the streets in the Havens Acres neighborhood:

“I’ll be proposing the Council consider allocating $600 – $650,000 toward those projects, with a specific  interest in creating a long-term solution to the road repair issues we seem to be facing with regularity in the Havens Acres neighborhood.”

MSA was asked to make a presentation to the Council at or before its first meeting in November (11/13/18) so members could consider the recommendation and pass a resolution to begin the project in time for construction to start the following spring.

A copy of the memorandum to MSA can be found by clicking here.

City considers trick-or-treating hours for 2018 at next meeting

The City Council will consider setting hours for this year’s trick-or-treating at their October 9 City Council Meeting. Read the resolution here.

The City Council will consider setting “official” hours for trick-or-treating this year at their next City Council meeting, scheduled for October 9, 2018.

The resolution currently under consideration will set the time for trick-or-treating from 5pm to 7pm on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Neighbors are encouraged to leave their front porch light on to signal their interest in hosting little goblins and ghosts during the event.

For other tips on safe trick-or-treating, check out this post from the Modern Moms blog by clicking here.

Have questions about the nutritional value of all that chocolate and sugar and just how much work it is to burn all of those extra calories off? Check out this post from a local health expert and certified dietician on “Let’s Move Quad Cities”.

Also from “Let’s Move” – here’s a list of other fun Halloween activities in the area.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

October 9, 2018 Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, October 9th at 7pm.

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council will take place on Tuesday evening, October 9th at 7pm.  The meeting will take place in the Community Room at Riverdale City Hall.

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

A copy of the 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 October 23, 2018.

Fall Fest 2018 wrap-up meeting today at 6pm

UPDATED: The Riverdale Fall Fest 2018 Organizational Committee met for one last time to discuss what worked (and what could be improved) and to gauge interest in doing the same event next year.

UPDATE (10/02/18):
The final 2018 Fall Festival meeting was held last night at City Hall and there were a number of suggestions as to how the event can be even better next year. You’ll find them in the minutes of the meeting, posted here.

A survey of feedback from attendees was also reviewed at that meeting. The findings of the survey are summarized in this slide show (for more details, we suggest joining the 2019 Fall Fest Committee for next year’s event (you can do that by sending us an email).

[embeddoc url=”https://riverdaleiowa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018-Fall-Fest-Survey.ppsx” download=”all” viewer=”microsoft”]

The final meeting of the volunteers and organizers for the 2018 Fall Festival will be held today in the Community Room at City Hall, starting at 6pm. The meeting is intended to be an opportunity to say “thanks” to everyone involved and to review the results of the satisfaction survey conducted following the event.

There’s even the “rumor” going around that Council Member Kelly Krell will be trying to line up volunteers to work on Fall Fest ’19 for next year.

Come down to City Hall, have fun and join in the celebration!

Winter road preparations underway for the City of Riverdale

Is it too early to begin making plans for flying snow, slick streets and late-night snow plowing up and down the streets of Riverdale? Not if your on the City Council.

The City Council began a general discussion about the nature of Riverdale’s snow removal plans and the current state of the City’s contract with the contractor handling snow removal this coming season.

It seems every winter there are complaints about speed of service, knocked down mailboxes and cost. Those complaints, in fact, may be inescapable. But this year, the City will proactively meet with the contractor and clarify its expectations of service for the coming season, document those expectations and share them with the community.

In addition to creating greater transparency and a stronger feedback loop on the quality of service, there are two other reasons this approach is warranted:

1. The City Riverdale is working out a cooperative arrangement with the City of Bettendorf to spread brine on Fenno Road Hill prior to approaching snow storms to reduce the accumulation of snow and ice on that street. That will make the hill (which crosses Valley Drive) much safer and should, in theory, cut down on the amount of snowplowing services required in that neighborhood.

2. The City is currently reviewing the work part-time employees do during a weather event to create a more structured plan for snow removal from the MRT and other city-owned/managed property. This is an effort to manage costs and to establish clear responsibilities for both City workers and the contractor.

Look for future updates on the City’s 2018-19 snow removal strategy in coming weeks and months.

Questions arise about turkey hunting in Riverdale.

There were questions about turkey hunting activities within the city limits. We have some answers.

There were questions raised at the Mayor’s Town Hall meeting on September 23rd concerning hunting practices in the City. Specifically, someone wanted to know if people were authorized to hunt turkeys in Riverdale.

The simple answer is “no.”

As we reported on the website a few weeks ago, the City has authorized a limited deer hunt in Riverdale to start on September 16th and run through January 12th. The vendor authorized to conduct the hunt, Kingsley Wildlife Management, was restricted to bow hunting for deer and coyote at least 100 yards from any building or occupied property.

The action taken by the City Council was noted in the approved minutes (available here on the City’s website) as follows:

The action taken by the City Council does not permit turkey hunting of any kind. In addition to that, the only person authorized to hunt deer in Riverdale is Kingsley Wildlife Management and anyone else who wants to hunt deer in Riverdale has to work through Steve Kingsley (and, if necessary, appropriate property owners).

Hunting resolutions are an annual affair in Riverdale. And, as a result, citizens with concerns or offering other ideas for consideration by the City Council are encouraged to bring them forward so they can be included in future conversations as they relate to the 2019-20 hunt which will begin sometime in September of 2019.

Show your colors by supporting the Riverdale Fire Department’s “thin red line”.

Show your support for the Riverdale Fire Department by purchasing one or more “Thin Red Line” t-shirts. Proceeds benefit the RFD’s non-profit support group.

The Riverdale Fire Department is selling thin red line shirts to the public!

Show your support for the RFD by purchasing one or more of these custom-made t-shirts. Short and long sleeved versions are available in sizes from Youth to 5XL.

Short sleeved shirts are $15 each and long sleeved versions are $18 each. There are additional charges for each size above 2XL (see the web page for details).

The deadline to order is October 19th!  

You will be able to pick up your t-shirts at the station after the sale has ended.

UPDATE: Completed Crow Creek sanitary sewer repair and creek stabilization project accepted by SCC

Work will soon be underway on a sanitary sewer and creek stabilization project near Eastern Iowa Community College. The project should be completed by Memorial Day.

UPDATE from 09/25 CITY COUNCIL MEETING
According to a report given to the Council by Chris Cooper, from MSA Professional Services, both he and the Dean of Operations from Scott Community College have inspected the site work on the location. The work has been deemed acceptable and the City will proceed with releasing the final payment to the contractor who did the work.

UPDATE from 04/24 CITY COUNCIL MEETING
The engineering firm retained by the City of Riverdale, MSA Professional Services, advised the City Council that work would soon be underway on the Crow Creek Sanitary Sewer and Crow Creek Stabilization Project (ref. Resolution 2018-16).

ORIGINAL POST
The contractor on the project, McClintock Trucking and Excavating, has submitted their bonds and executed the agreement with the City. The bid was $27,597.50 – authorized by the City Council at its March 27, 2018 meeting. The contractor and the City’s Engineer (MSA) have met with Scott Community College to discuss details of access and the project schedule.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of May.

MSA will provide regular progress reports on the project at future council meetings.

Seventy photos from Riverdale’s Fall Festival

Thanks go out to Riverdale residents Gwen Halsey and Teri Stickler for some great pictures from this past weekend’s Fall Fest! Check them out …

Fall Fest 2018 was a great success – and we have Teri Stickler and Gwen Halsey to thank for these wonderful images! To see more of these photos (and others), visit our Riverdale Residents Facebook Page.

National Wireless Alert (NWA) System test scheduled for Thursday has been re-scheduled.

A test of the National Wireless Alert (NWA) System originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon has been re-scheduled to October 3. Read more details about it inside.

FEMA, in cooperation with the FCC, had planned to conduct a national test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on September 20, 2018 at 2:18 pm EDT and 2:20 pm EDT, respectively.  The test has now been re-scheduled to Thursday, October 3, 2018 at the same time. (Click here for more details.)  According to the FEMA website, this is because of the on-going response to Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina.

The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016,  and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

The WEA test will likely show up on cell phones accepting government alerts as “Presidential Alert.”

Click here for the original announcement of the 09/20/18 test.

What did you think of Fall Fest? Let us know.

The Fall Fest Committee wants to know what you thought about the event. You can let them know by participating in our online survey!

2018 Fall Fest Chairman Mark Griswold and Council Member Kelly Krell have closed the final chapter on this year’s event and are now asking residents of Riverdale to participate in an online survey to provide feedback that will be considered for next year.

You can complete the survey below:

Create your own user feedback survey

Grading on Woods Estates project moves on, causes concerns

Grading on the Woods Estates project has caused some concerns among hilltop residents, but the City and developer Seth Woods have announced a special program to deal with the inconvenience. This comes as work is set to begin cutting in the main entrance to the project.

In an email received by City staff on Wednesday, developer Seth Woods announced his company’s intention to begin the next phase of grading on the Woods Estates subdivision project.  This will involve cutting through the hillside currently between the former Welch Farm property on top of the hill and the planned entrance off of State Street, across from the Arconic Davenport Works.

“The current site grading has been more or less out of sight of the general public up to now, so the contractor wanted me to give you a heads up that this will be starting soon,” read the email. The grading “will be very visible to everyone.”

Drainage from the cut-through area will be directed to a sediment trap excavated this past week by Woods Development sub-contractors. The most recent site erosion control plan provided to the City by J+M Civil Design (engineers for Woods Development) can be found by clicking here.

A diagram showing how water is predicted to flow over the updated grading of the site can be viewed by clicking here.

Citizen Concerns and Complaints

Notice from Woods Development came to City Hall the same time as some citizen complaints about current grading work, the possibility for water runoff flowing into the backyards of existing homes and the amount of dust and dirt in the air as a result of the grading activity on the job site.  City Administrator Tim Long informed the developer of the concerns in a Thursday afternoon email (on September 13) and said he will operate as an intermediary to work through the grading concerns with all parties.

Free Car Wash Program Announced

To address issues related to dust raised as a result of grading activities in the new subdivision, the City and Woods Development have agreed to purchase 100 car wash certificates at the Devils Glen Car Wash (across the street from Hy-Vee on Devils Glen Road) which can be claimed by any resident of Riverdale who feels his or her car has been covered by dust from the construction site.

Program details:

  •  This program starts on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.
  • Certificates are for a standard wash (value of $6 each) and can be claimed in-person at City Hall.
  • If a resident wants additional features added to their wash, they must pay the difference in price at the car wash.
  • Residents claiming a certificate must provide their name and address at the time of the claim.
  • All claims must be made in person.
  • There is a limit of one coupon per person per day.
  • This offer is good while supplies last.

 

Waste Management and Recycling Task Force to meet on Thursday, September 20th at 7pm

A city-wide task force looking into Riverdale’s current Waste Management agreement, community-wide recycling efforts and options to consider for the future will meet at City Hall on Thursday, September 20th at 7pm. UPDATE: Agenda now available.

An open public meeting has been scheduled to discuss the City’s waste management contract with Republic Services and to explore options for reducing the cost of that agreement and expanding the community’s efforts to recycle in the future.

The meeting will be chaired by Council Member Anthony Heddlesten and will focus on identifying possible steps the City and its residents can take to affect the costs of waste management and recycling services for the City without degrading the level of service currently enjoyed by its residents.

As currently envisioned, there will be two or three meetings of this 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.

UPDATE: An agenda for the meeting is now available by clicking here.

Invasive Plant Task Force schedules its next meeting

Council Member Kelly Krell has called for the next meeting of the Invasive Plant Task Force to meet at City Hall on Monday, October 24th at 5pm. More details inside!

The Invasive Plant Task Force will hold its next meeting at City Hall on Monday, October 24, 2018 at 5pm. An agenda can be viewed by clicking here.

The meeting will include a presentation and Q&A session with an invasive plants expert from the US Fish & Wildlife Service to talk about the challenges facing the City. This discussion will include the expert’s own evaluation of Riverdale’s wild landscape and recommendations for possible action by the City, local businesses and its residents.

The meeting will also include a field trip into the community to gauge the scope of the issue first-hand.

Additional sponsors sign on to Riverdale Fall Fest

Two new sponsors have joined in the fun for this weekend’s Riverdale Fall Fest. Brenny’s Motorcycle Clinic and COSTCO will be providing equipment and food for the event as sponsors.

In addition to the current Fall Fest Sponsors (MSA Professional Services and BLPR), the event has just added two new sponsors to the list.

Brenny’s Motorcycle Clinic, located in Riverdale, will be providing vehicles for the parade and celebration activities and COSTCO will be providing food.

Please be sure to say “thanks” to all of the sponsors at Saturday’s event.

Special city proclamation designates September 11th as “First Responder Day” in Riverdale

Mayor Mike Bawden asked residents of the City of Riverdale to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by First Responders every day as part of his proclamation designating 9-11 as “First Responder Day” in the City.

At the September 11, 2018 City Council Meeting, Mayor Mike Bawden asked those present to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of those lost in terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania seventeen years earlier. He then presented the following proclamation:

Whereas          On a sunny morning in New York City seventeen years ago, the world looked on in horror as hijackers took control of two passenger jets and attacked the World Trade Center towers; and

 

Whereas          That same day, more hijackers took control of two other passenger jets, one striking the Pentagon in Washington, DC and another jet, presumably heading for a target in Washington, was forced to crash into a field in Pennsylvania; and

 

Whereas          First responders from New York, New Jersey and across the region immediately sprung into action to save lives and keep people safe, with many of these brave souls making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty; and

 

Whereas          Even after the events of the day had shocked us all, we continued to watch in awe for months as these first responders and other from across the nation – police, fire, emergency medical personnel and others – continued in the service of others as their attempts to rescue victims of terrorism eventually turned to recovery; and

 

Whereas          The date of the attack, September 11, coincidentally shares the same numerical formula as the national standard for calling help from a community’s first responders, 9-1-1; then

 

Therefore        be it resolved that I, Michael Bawden, Mayor of the City of Riverdale, ask the citizens of our City to pause and reflect today on the sacrifices made then and every time a first responder answers a call for help from someone in their most urgent times of need.

 

Let today, and every September 11thbe known as

 

FIRST RESPONDER DAY in Riverdale, Iowa

IN WITNESS WHEREOF,
Michael Bawden, Mayor
City of Riverdale

A signed copy of the proclamation can be viewed by clicking here.

 

Riverdale Fire Department takes 1st place in Iowa Firefighters’ Convention Competition

Congrats to members of the Riverdale Fire Department who placed 1st in the state in the Water Application Drill competition at this year’s Iowa Firefighters’ Association Convention in Waverly, Iowa this past weekend!

A four-man team from Riverdale captured first place in this year’s Water Application Drill at the 2018 Iowa Firefighters’ Association Convention held in Waverly, Iowa this past weekend. The team of Randy, Bruce and Phillip Bowers along with Adrian Castillo earned enough points with the win to place the RFD in a tie for 5th place over-all among all the departments competing from throughout the state.

Riverdale’s water-fighting warriors show off their 1st place plaque (now in its new home in the Riverdale fire station).

Riverdale’s fire chief, Floyd Bruns was there to coach them along and also competed.

The event is an annual affair for the IFA. Competitors in this year’s skills contests also had to deal with approximately eight inches of rain that turned the 40-acre field into a giant mud pit. But the nearly 2,000 firefighters who attended didn’t seem to mind, with almost everyone hitching rides on tractors and ATV’s provided by area farmers to help make the event a success.

A news report from KWWL-TV will give you some idea of the conditions:

KWWL – Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Back in Riverdale, Mayor Mike Bawden said he intends to recognize the RFD’s outstanding performance at Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council. “It seems appropriate, that as we remember and thank all first responders on September 11th, we also celebrate the strong spirit and fellowship exhibited by our very own fire department,” he said. “The Riverdale Fire Department has been a well-deserved point of pride in our community and I look forward to seeing it continue to be so.”

To read the Mayoral Proclamation congratulating the RFD team on their 1st place finish, click here.

Taking Riverdale “to task” is a part of our future

Mayor Mike Bawden explains why he’s asked three Council Members to chair “task forces” to address some of the big issues facing Riverdale now and in the future.

I knew this question was coming, but, honestly, I’m not sure how my answer might be received.

It’s not in my nature to hold things back, so here goes …

Over the past few months, I’ve been asked these questions in one for more another: “Why do you keep calling all of these “task forces” together? We’ve never done that before. Are things really that bad?”

Those are good questions. And they’re all inter-related, although probably not for the reason(s) you might think. I’ll try to unpack the line of questioning in an effort to make it easier to understand what I mean …

“Why do you keep calling all of these “task forces” together?”

Okay, I’ll have to admit, calling a public meeting a “task force meeting” might be a bit hyperbolic. But doing so reinforces a sense of urgency that I find sorely lacking in local politics (not just in Riverdale, but everywhere). Plus, a “task force” is much more action-oriented than a “study group” or “public intake session.”

But it’s a dual sense of urgency and ownership around specific subjects that I’m trying to create among our residents and community leaders.

The fact is this: if people are moderately satisfied with the way their city operates and their lifestyle is not being directly impacted by city policies or procedures, they’re not likely to engage local officials – giving those officials a sense of general approval of their actions when, in reality, what those officials are actually benefitting from is more of a benign neglect.

Case in point: last year’s battle over the TIF associated with the Welch Farm development deal. We (the public) were told at a Council meeting that the City had, in fact, held a public information meeting on this controversial subject. Only three people showed up, so the assumption was made that nobody in the community was concerned or cared – implicitly giving the Mayor and City Council the green light to do the deal they eventually did – even over the objections raised later by a majority of residents.

(Sidebar) If you can’t tell by now – I’ll say it out loud: I’m not opposed to the development of the former Welch Farm. I think it was an inevitability that someone was going to buy and subdivide that property, resulting in more homes in Riverdale within walking distance of one of the state’s premier high schools. I’m just not a fan of the process used to secure the deal – a process that cut a lot of people out once they expressed an interest in getting involved.

In my opinion, the general rancor and hurt feelings that resulted from that episode will continue to affect the operation of the City of Riverdale for years to come.

The lessons I learned from the entire ordeal have, in fact, colored my approach to my term as mayor. Not in a way that puts me in opposition to Seth Woods and his team but rather in a way that has increased my sensitivity to making sure no reasonable concern or objection is ignored and marginalized.

My focus is on increasing and enhancing public engagement in the operation and growth of our City, even if that slows things down a bit and frustrates some in the process.

I’m also focused on calling out our residents when they become complacent and just want to “stay the course” because “what we have is good enough.” Let me just say this: what we have is NOT good enough and staying the course will steer us right into some rough waters that I doubt Riverdale can withstand.

As one of the leaders of our community, I feel it’s necessary for all of us to be involved in an active, continuing discussion about Riverdale’s current state of affairs and how we navigate our “ship of state” in the future.

Thus, my enthusiasm for “task forces” which are, in fact, public meetings meant to encourage public participation in understanding and researching important issues, brainstorming possible solutions and then having those solutions represented by a member of the City Council at a meeting where the Council can deliberate and take action accordingly.

“We’ve never done that before.”

Maybe not under this name or with this frequency – but Riverdale has, in fact, conducted public meetings where residents are encouraged to participate in the process. The last comprehensive plan for the City was such a process (and our review of the same will be a similar one). The public has also been invited to participate in budget work sessions, although with very few exceptions has anyone ever actively done so.

As if you can’t tell by now, that’s all going to change.

My goal is to create a community where it’s common for individual citizens to attend public meetings and participate in conversations about the largest issues we face.

Such involvement will, I think, result in more people volunteering time and effort to make little things happen all over the City that will improve the quality of life for those of us who live here without breaking the bank in the process.

Because, let’s face it, when you’re a city of just 425 residents, the bankroll just doesn’t go all that far. We need to make every penny count. And the involvement of our residents is part of a much larger solution to accomplish that.

The downside if we don’t get involved? I can see Riverdale stagnating, losing money and eventually…?

Yes. It’s THAT important.

“Are things really getting that bad?”

The short answer is “no”. But I have to put a caveat on that answer, because we’re not really sure.

Our short-term financial position looks good. Adding another 100 homes over the next few years will help. I’m continuing to work on improving the City’s relationships with Bettendorf, Davenport, Scott County, the PV School District, Scott Community College and Arconic (among others) because, frankly, that’s my nature.

But one of the frustrations I’ve had over the past eight months is that it now appears to me that the City has operated for a long time without a clear, strategic vision of the future. What I’ve found under every “rock” I’ve turned over are old ordinances, old procedures, undocumented processes, unreviewed job descriptions, a lack of vendor-supplied documentation, no written plans, etc.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of City Clerk Ron Fullerlove and City Administrator Tim Long, we are developing a much more precise understanding of the City’s financial standing, our strengths and our areas of exposure. But as that financial picture comes into view, the only thing I think we can promise is that things aren’t going to be like they’ve always been before.

Change is inevitable. And I fear that might be a problem.

“Maintaining the status quo” seems to have been the City’s plan for a number of years. Maybe because that was the easier course of action to take. Maybe because it seemed the only “sure” way to proceed because obvious questions couldn’t be easily answered.

Frankly, I’m not sure. And it’s not in my nature to let those kinds of questions languish.

So while we go through the laborious and sometimes uncomfortable process of reviewing, revising and reinitiating policies, procedures and the rest to bring Riverdale up to date, I’m also going to insist that our modernization process extend beyond the walls of City Hall to include every resident and business in our community. It’s a task we must take seriously and one we must work together to achieve.

Because, quite honestly, the future of Riverdale depends on it.

Concerned about the weather? Subscribe to weather alerts.

The Scott County Emergency Management Agency has now set up a system to alert residents of severe weather watches and warnings through Alert Iowa.

(from the Scott County EMA website)

Scott County is part of the State of Iowa alert system called Alert Iowa.

What is Alert Iowa?

Alert Iowa is a county/statewide mass notification and emergency messaging system which can be used by state and local authorities to quickly disseminate emergency information to residents in counties that utilize the system.

This system will be used as an emergency notification system during all hazard and life-safety events.

If you sign up through your community website you will receive messages via landline or wireless phone, text messaging, email, fax, TDD/TYY, and social media.

The system is available, free of charge, to all citizens in Scott County and we encourage everyone to register at least one contact method.

Alert messages may contain photo, video and audio attachments to help subscribers better understand the situation at hand, or where to find additional information.

These messages will normally be specific to your community or the communities for which you register. However, if you sign up through the Scott County website and do not choose any specific community, you will receive only warnings and information specific to the County as a whole and not your specific community.

Once you have registered your information will be automatically entered into the system and you will receive any notices sent out.

Nevertheless, should you decide you no longer wish to receive messages, you can opt-out of the system by sending an e-mail or letter to Scott County EMA at 1100 E. 46th Street, Davenport, IA 52807 or scema@msn.com with your name address and phone number you registered.  The process to add or remove contact information may take 24 to 72 hours.

This system is powered by the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS) and the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and in Scott County is under the control of the Scott County Emergency Management Agency.

For additional information on Alert Iowa/WENS you can contact Dave Donovan at 563-484-3050 with the Scott County EMA office.