Beran and Struve named to the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission

Beran and Struve named to the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission

Long-time residents Jim Beran and Jeff Struve were appointed to fill open seats on the City’s Planning & Zoning meeting during the City Council’s Meeting on September 24, 2019.

With the appointment, the Mayor pointed out that it looked like both the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals could be much busier in 2020 as Woods Estates of Riverdale starts selling its first lots in Phase I and homes start construction. The mayor also reminded members of the City Council that there was still an open seat on the ZBA and that if Kevin Adams gets elected to City Council (he’s running unopposed), Mr. Adams will need to resign his seat on the P&Z Commission and another citizen will need to be appointed in his place.

A current list of P&Z Commissioners and ZBA Members can be found by clicking here.

The work of both bodies is facilitated/administered by the Riverdale’s City Administrator, Tim Long. Residents interested in serving on either committee are encouraged to call Mr. Long at City Hall during regular business hours at 563-355-2511.

Riverdale seeks qualified consultants to conduct a vegetation study in 2020

Riverdale seeks qualified consultants to conduct a vegetation study in 2020

(Update 09/24/19) – The City of Riverdale has issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) from a qualified arborist or vegetation consultant to conduct a study of invasive species in the City’s parks and wild spaces during calendar year 2020.

The City Council approved RESOLUTION 2019-37, which authorized the publication and distribution of the RFP to qualified vendors/consultants. The budget for the project was set at $10,000. Earlier this year, the City set aside up to $20,000 to study the invasive species problem in Riverdale and deal with it accordingly.

A copy of the RFP can be found here. The study is expected to be conducted in the areas indicated as “Active Parks” and “Vacant” areas on the map.

(NOTE: This map of the City of Riverdale with areas of particular interest can be downloaded here.)

Project Details:

Scope of Work:

The City of Riverdale seeks the services of an arborist or certified professional to identify which plants exist in which public (or City-owned) areas of the City. A comprehensive herbaceous and woody plant survey is expected. Sampling conducted for the survey should occur in all four seasons throughout the calendar year 2020. A complete copy of this RFP can be viewed by clicking here.

Budget:

$ 10,000 (estimated)

Project Bid Date:

Proposals due: November 30, 2019 (see RFP for a more detailed schedule)
Selection made: December 10, 2019

Project Start Date:

Work begins: January 1, 2020
Study completed: December 31, 2020

Project Completion Date:

Report to City Council due: January 31, 2021

 

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Stormwater tips for the homeowner

Stormwater tips for the homeowner

With the recent storms of the past few days and the expected rainfall that will be occurring throughout the week or so, we feel it’s necessary to provide a handy homeowner’s guide for managing stormwater runoff.

You can download your copy of the guide here. (Note: the guide will open in a separate window)

The guide is designed to help homeowners understand what stormwater is, how runoff can become a problem and what you (as a homeowner) can do about it.

The guide is not a substitute for professional design and implementation of stormwater runoff plans, but it should help you become more informed on the general concerns, solutions and practices associated with this issue.

The City will (via its website and e-newsletter) provide educational material on stormwater handling on a regular basis.

Photos show progress on Madison Drive and site grading (and a sold lot!!) in Woods Estates

Photos show progress on Madison Drive and site grading (and a sold lot!!) in Woods Estates

Check out these recent photos showing progress on Phase I of the Woods Estates of Riverdale project by Woods Construction/Development. Madison Drive is now connected to State Street, work on completing the drainage system connecting the detention basins to the storm water system is underway and grading work is continuing on the lots that will be sold in Phase I – approximately 13 homes in the new development that should see some dirt work and construction yet this year (depending on weather).

Woods Estates Progress Reports from the City’s engineering consultants

Woods Estates Progress Reports from the City’s engineering consultants

Field reports from the City of Riverdale’s consulting engineers can be found here. Field reports are filed by MSA Professional Services and the City of Bettendorf’s Public Works/Roads Department.

(Update: 09-20-19) Documents now available for September 24 City Council Meeting

(Update: 09-20-19) Documents now available for September 24 City Council Meeting

A regular meeting of the Riverdale City Council took place on Tuesday evening, September 24th at 7pm.  The meeting was held in the Community Room at Riverdale City Hall.

The following documents were reviewed at the meeting:

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.

Coming to terms with one of Riverdale’s legacies.

Coming to terms with one of Riverdale’s legacies.

We had a town hall meeting yesterday and four or five people were able to make it. I was grateful. We had a lot to discuss (you can find the notes from the meeting here) and it would have been nice to have had more people there – but I know the fall is a busy time and the announcement may have slipped by some people.

Never fear. We’ll have another. On October 20th at 2pm. At City Hall. You’re welcome to come.

One of the issues we talked about, albeit so briefly it didn’t even make the summary of the notes I posted, related to meetings on subjects that matter to the City and concerns people have about both attending and participating. One person at the meeting said he only knew two things about Riverdale before he moved to our community: that there were problems with the bike path and that we sued each other over open records and open meetings.

That’s not the kind of legacy I think any of us want.

Saving the bike path discussion for another day (we’re actually working a plan to resolve that issue, believe it or not), I would like to address the “elephant in the room” that’s so big, it actually seems to be blocking the door and keeping people out: Riverdale’s history of litigation.

I’m not going to delve into the history of what happened, what decisions were made, what it cost our community and who was right or wrong. That’s in the past. But what does need to be discussed is how our city and its leadership makes sure our dealings are transparent and in compliance with state law concerning both open meetings and open records. This blog post is an attempt to start that conversation constructively – so please don’t consider this to be the “last word” on this matter, merely my opinion.

About Open Meetings and Open Records

Open meeting laws (also called sunshine laws) require most federal, state and local governmental meetings be open to the public – along with their decisions and records.  This is so the public is able to access the internal workings of government at all levels and is tied directly to the First Amendment of the US Constitution and our rights to free speech. (Here’s a link to an interesting article on the subject.)

In short, these laws are based on the principal that “the people” have a right to see “the people’s business” being done. And while any sausage-maker will tell you that the process isn’t necessarily a pretty one, it’s worth the effort.

I think the fear about the “spectacle of sausage-making” is often what drives political leaders to want to conduct their business out of sight. Disagreements, even principled ones, can be an ugly affair and a poorly-phrased expression can lead to hurt feelings, anger and embarrassment. I believe it’s the desire of most political leaders to appear competent and collegial – that’s not always accomplished during the deliberation of a confusing or particularly thorny issue.

Add an audience to that and the tension, anxiety and frustration levels all rise exponentially.

But open meetings and open records ARE the law. So we, as elected officials, have to get over ourselves. We have to be ready to express our thoughts, opinions and concerns fulsomely (in total) without concern for ridicule or disagreement. And we have to be willing to suffer the consequences of taking unpopular positions when we stand for re-election.

That’s not an easy thing to ask of a part-time mayor or city council member. But it is the job.

Haven’t you ever wondered why I try to keep our meetings light and loose?  Maybe too loose for some, but it’s my desire to encourage our council members AND the residents present at official meetings to take the time they need to fully express themselves. Only on very rare occasions have I felt I had to cut someone off from rambling on incoherently or being disrespectful.  I’ll do it, I just don’t want to make stifling discussion or debate the standard for how our public meetings should operate.

As a result, our meetings tend to run a little long. My apologies for that.

But, back to open meetings. If you check out this handy guide on the law, you’ll note that these rules apply to certain kinds of meetings: “a gathering in person or by electronic means, formal or informal, of a majority of the members of a governmental body where there is deliberation or action upon any matter within the scope of the governmental body’s policy-making duties.” (Section 21.2)

What that means is that the open meetings and open records rules apply to meetings of the City Council of Riverdale where they deliberate or take action on any city-related policy. Those meetings could be regular or special council meetings, Planning & Zoning Commission meetings, Zoning Board of Adjustment meetings/hearings and public hearings of special actions taken by the Council (like approving a conduit bond or our annual budget).

What’s not included on the list are meetings where citizens are invited to participate in the discussion of their concerns and issues facing the community. Meetings like our town hall meetings, invasive plant task force meetings, parks planning meetings, city budget-setting meetings, etc. These are, technically, “citizen advisory” meetings and don’t HAVE to follow the open meetings/open records meetings.

But that’s not to say they won’t.

In fact, while we don’t HAVE to post notices, take notes or file minutes of those meetings, it’s a good idea that we do. “Transparency” is a best practice when it comes to government. We need to be in the habit of discussing serious issues openly and freely with our fellow citizens. And we also need to develop an ability to politely disagree and construct solutions that build bridges and solve problems.

Having to file lawsuits to get answers to legitimate questions shouldn’t be the solution.

What This Means For You

Riverdale is a small city with very limited resources. We’ve been blessed with a history of residents who have been willing to step up and pitch in when the City needs them. And as we face the coming years and the economic challenges ahead, we’ll need our residents to feel comfortable volunteering their time, talent, ideas and energy to the projects we think will benefit our little community the most.

But that won’t happen if people are afraid of getting sued because they didn’t post a meeting notice or take notes during a citizens advisory session. Hopefully, that won’t continue to be a concern going forward.

Riverdale needs you. We hope you’ll answer the call.

Thanks.

Scott County Library System in search of board members

Scott County Library System in search of board members

In a recent email correspondence with Mayor Mike Bawden, Scott County Supervisor Ken Beck asked if there was any interest from a Riverdale resident about filling one of two open seats on the Scott County Library System Board.

“I know Riverdale has had some concerns with the library’s delivery of services to your community. There are two openings on the board, if anyone in your community is interested,” wrote Mr. Beck.

The seat is not a direct appointment the City of Riverdale can make. Those who are interested will need to complete an application and can get more information on the opportunity from Mr. Beck, the library’s director (Tricia Kane) or the current board president. The City is happy to assist in acquiring that information and making the recommendation.

If you are interested in serving on the Scott County Library Board, please let us know by calling City Hall during regular business hours (563-355-2511) or by contacting us through this website.

Interested in knowing how the Scott County Library System performed during its last fiscal year? Here’s a copy of their most recent annual report (FY 2019).

Feel free to leave questions in the comments section, below. We will respond as quickly as possible.

Newsletter archive updated

Newsletter archive updated

The archive of City of Riverdale newsletters going back to January of 2016 has been updated. You can access them by going to the archive page on this website or by clicking the button at the bottom of the page.

If you want to review earlier copies of the city’s newsletters, you can stop by City Hall (563-355-2511) during regular business hours and ask to review the binders of past city newsletters from our records room.

If you need copies of newsletters, they can be made at City Hall, but please remember, In the event requests are made for large document runs (more than 20 pages), there may be a photocopying charge. Please be sure to ask prior to requesting copies.

Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting (09-22-19)

Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting (09-22-19)

(Updated 09-22-19) A town hall meeting for the residents of Riverdale was held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Sunday, September 22 at 2pm.

  1. Welcome and Introductions:
    • Mayor Mike Bawden welcomed residents in attendance and special guests Lisa Corsiglia from the US Census Bureau and Scharlott Blevins, Riverdale’s Assistant City Clerk.
    • The meeting was called to order at 2:02 pm and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited after introductions.
  2. General Discussion:
    • Fiber Optic Service Delay (now scheduled for mid to late-February 2020)
      Mayor Bawden laid out MetroNET’s latest installation schedule for fiber optic throughout the City of Riverdale. Also discussed the essential differences between Internet service provided through cable (Mediacom) and optical fiber. 

      The City is getting wired for optical fiber at no cost to its residents. Other providers (most notably Geneseo Telecom) required a payment from the City (or its residents) in order to have the fiber run to every home and business in Riverdale.

    • Woods Estate Update
      Mayor Bawden reviewed progress to-date for Woods Estates. Questions about grading issues and whether or not grass/ground cover has been planted throughout the project were addressed.

      Lots are currently shown as being for sale, although it was noted that the plat for the project (in general) and Phase I (specifically) still need to be reviewed by the City’s Planning & Zoning Committee and approved by the City Council before construction can begin. Questions about what part of the entire development is included in the first phase – the only map available in the meeting room was old, but the Mayor was able to give a general description of the land area included in “Phase 1” of the Woods Estates project.

    • Fall Fest
      Fall Fest will take place at Bicentennial Park on October 5th from 2-4pm. There was some question whether or not the time for the event was listed on promotional material. A quick check of the event page on City’s website shows that the times were, in fact, listed.
    • Website Enhancements
      The City’s website has continued to evolve and now has current information  on key issues and initiatives as well as information presented at recent City Council meetings.

      Have a suggestion for improving the website or our weekly newsletter? Let us know.

    • Wellspire, LLC Conduit Bond Hearing (slated for 09-24-19)
      The Mayor reviewed the plans for the City to hold a public hearing and, in all likelihood, pass a resolution to issue a “conduit” bond worth $10,000,000 on behalf of Wellspire, LLC at its upcoming meetings on October 8th (delayed from the original, 09/24 meeting date).

    • Parks Planning
      Mayor Bawden explained that he will be working with City Council Members Kelly Krell and Anthony Heddelsten to solicit citizen input and get the City’s parks plan developed and implemented. Concerns were raised about the amount of dead trees still standing at park edges and in the City’s wild places as well as having some kind of landscaping and maintenance plan in place and implemented for Volunteer Park now that some much-needed clean-up work was finished in the plan.

      One resident offered to do a park walk-through with interested members of the City Council to identify critical areas that should be addressed by the parks plan.

  3. Open Discussion
    • Lisa Corsiglia from the US Census Bureau provided a timeline for the national census scheduled to take place in 2020. The official census day is April 1, but work has already begun to identify occupied homes to be included in the survey. Work will continue through mid-July in an attempt to get everyone living in a community to be identified in the census.

      The upcoming census will be the first one allowing people to complete the census online or by phone (in addition to the written form which will be mailed to every residence in the country).

      Look for more information about the national census on the Riverdale website in the coming weeks.

    • Need to clean the gutters at City Hall to prevent additional damage to the roof this winter.
    • The Mayor answered more questions about the MRT bike path and concerns of Haven’s Acres residents with bike traffic. The Mayor walked through the current plan in place for dealing with these concerns over the next few years.
    • Questions were raised with regard to how the City was going to make sure new homes in the Woods Estates development would be built within the City’s guidelines for property setbacks, storm water management, good quality topsoil, building inspections, etc.
    • The Mayor discussed the need to make sure the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals are fully staffed and functioning for the next few years to accommodate the expected increase in requests from people building homes in the Woods Estates development.
    • The Mayor reminded those present that the next City Council meeting will be Tuesday at 7pm.
    • Shar Blevens asked for residents to take a look at the photo albums she’s assembled that document the history of the City of Riverdale. She needs help identifying residents and providing information about the events caught on camera.
  4. Adjourn
    The town hall meeting was adjourned at 4:15 pm.

The next town hall meeting for the residents of Riverdale will be held on Sunday, October 20th at 2pm.

Help the Quad Cities tell its story to the world!

Help the Quad Cities tell its story to the world!

If you love living in the Quad Cities, why not let other people know about it?

Visit Quad Cities, the organization responsible for promoting the QCA as a destination to visitors is looking for our help in identifying what makes this area such a great place to live. Feedback local residents provide will help them craft the stories they need to tell to help draw more attention, interest, visitors and out-of-town dollars to the area.

Please take the survey by clicking on the button.