Yard waste pickup extended through December 9th

Yard waste pickup extended through December 9th

Riverdale’s forecast for Saturday is dry with a high in the low 40s.

Riverdale residents were taken by surprise on Monday, December 1st, when Republic Services picked up bags of leaves and other yard waste. In correspondence held today with Republic, the City was informed yard waste pick-up will occur one more time before ending for the season.

Fortunately for Riverdale residents, the weather forecast for the weekend looks good for both raking leaves, trimming trees and attending the Holiday Lights Celebration at City Hall scheduled for 4pm.

Let’s get this place ready for winter by getting our yards in shape and lights turned on for the holidays!

Lessons learned from recent snow removal

Lessons learned from recent snow removal

The results of a recent meeting with Bettendorf’s Department of Public Works (DPW) director, Bryan Schmidt and its operations manager, Kris Hatfield, served as a useful review and exchange of information Riverdale residents should keep in mind for the upcoming winter season.

Performance in the past two snow events

The City shared observations and concerns from residents with DPW related to timeliness of service provided and over-all quality, specifically as it related to the need to plow closer to the curbs in the Havens Acres neighborhood. A considerable amount of time was spent reviewing GPS reports produced by DPW that showed where and when their trucks were plowing in Riverdale – some of those GPS maps are provided below. More information could be obtained about a particular truck and/or snow event, but the maps reviewed showed that DPW had not only provided the service as specified in our 28E agreement with Bettendorf, but that they could also help us better understand how the streets were plowed and what could be done by both parties to improve plow quality and satisfaction.

One of the more interesting facts presented was the time required to plow Riverdale’s 9 lane-miles of streets. The new contractor (Bettendorf DPW) took less than half the time (and less than half the cost) to plow the City’s streets compared to the time required by our previous contractor for similar snow events.

Adjustments to be made by Bettendorf DPW

For future snow events, the City requested and DPW agreed to make sure the major hills in Riverdale (Fenno, Manor and, at some point, Madison) are brined prior to snowfall. Although brining would not have substantially changed conditions on the November 11th event (there was rain prior to the snowfall that would have washed away the salt brine), the preparatory work done to the City’s roads are expected to make later plows more effective and the streets/hillsides safer.

The only exception to this agreement will be when the street temperature is too low to make brining the street effective. At those low temperatures, there is not any substance you can put on the road’s surface to generate melt that would not cause damage to the roadways.

DPW also agreed to pay close attention to designated school bus stops and the bus stop in Havens Acres to make sure those areas are well-plowed and safe for pedestrians/students waiting on mass transit.

Adjustments residents can make to ensure a better plow

There are some things Riverdale residents can do to make sure the DPW plows are able to do a good job for the City. Among those:

1. If the snow is falling on a Sunday night, make sure your garbage and recycling bins are away from the curb so there’s room to push the snow. The November 11th plow was particularly difficult because not only were there waste and recycling bins up to the curb, many residents had spent time over the weekend bagging leaves. Plow drivers (many of whom were new to the job) were wary of plowing too close to the curb for fear of hitting a rolling bin (which did happen, twice) or some bags of leaves and creating a bigger mess in the street.

2. If you know snow is coming, please put your car in your driveway. Leaving your car parked in the street makes the driver swerve away from the curb to get around your vehicle and leaves a lot of unplowed snow in the street which can freeze and make it all that more difficult to get the street clean later on in the day.

Driveway Snow Removal Tips

3. If possible, create a “landing zone” for snow pushed by the plow in advance of it getting to your driveway (see the diagram to the right). By doing this, you’ll minimize the amount of snow pushed onto the end of your driveway and make getting out and onto Riverdale’s freshly-plowed streets easier.

4. When you’re shoveling or snow-blowing your driveway, make sure you go side-to-side and avoid  pushing your driveway snow into the street. This will help decrease the amount of time DPW’s crews need to work clearing our streets (and save us money in the process) and improves safety for other vehicles by reducing the chance of random ice-spots developing on our main roads.

Notes from the November 11th snow event

Here are notes from Bettendorf DPW about the November 11th snow event that shows the level of detailed information we can review, when required. Please note, the City of Riverdale does not currently intend to review plowing performance on this granular level for every event into the future – but rather, we saw the November 11th event (and concerns raised by citizens) as an appropriate time to dive in and learn what we could to make everyone more successful and satisfied throughout the season.

Please note that these maps and the information provided is not all of the information available on the snow event, but these are images and notes provided to the City by DPW for illustrative purposes (and this web post). Some additional maps were provided as hard-copy print outs in our meeting showing additional plowing activity in the Havens Acres and Fenno neighborhoods, as well. Scans are not currently available for the website.

Finally, it’s important to note that weather conditions for the November 11th event were difficult for every plowing contractor and city public works department. Road and air temperatures were high enough at the start of the event to make brining roads ineffective, Wind and temperatures dropped significantly between the initial and second plowing to cause the roads to be icy and slick and most of the substantial removal/clean-up of roads didn’t occur until after the snow stopped – well past when students and workers had to leave their residences for the day.

While Riverdale residents may feel particularly aggrieved – concerned the City was “forgotten” by the Bettendorf Public Works Department because we’re not Bettendorf – both City Council Member Anthony Heddleston and Mayor Mike Bawden came away from the meeting feeling convinced that Bettendorf DPW did the best job they could given the weather conditions and that the relationship memorialized in the recently amended 28E was beneficial to the City.

 

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.

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
Questions raised about fill dirt in Bicentennial Park

Questions raised about fill dirt in Bicentennial Park

Questions and photos were posted to the Riverdale Residents’ Facebook page yesterday (10/30/19) about a half dozen truckloads of dirt and rubble dumped at the back of Bicentennial Park. Residents were asking why the material was dumped there and what the City’s plans were.

After looking into it, this is what I’ve been able to uncover …

Last Thursday (10/24), the City’s maintenance person, George Miller, shared information about a request he received from the contractor doing work for Iowa-American Water. The contractor was asking if the City had need for free fill that they could provide instead of hauling it away. The fill came from the excavation work the contractor was doing for the water main installation along the MRT.

The email, sent to City Administrator Tim Long and City Engineer Chris Cooper read:

Dumping a few dump truck loads (6-10) of spoil from the water main installation on to the back side of Bicentennial Park is ok and does not need any permits due to the fact that it is  disturbing less than a acre of ground. The area where it would be dumped is at the edge of the draw just before the old radio tower. Both of the areas are marked in yellow.

You can click on the map to the right and see a full-sized version of the image.

George then went on to send a fuller explanation to City Council Members Anthony Heddlesten and Kelly Krell later on that day. That email reads as follows:

Kelly and Anthony
I spoke with Tim and Chris about letting the contractor dump some of the spoil from the water main installation up at the rear of bicentennial park. The two areas I have highlighted are the spots where I would like to do some fill work. The amount to be dumped would be about 6 dump truck loads. The areas could take over ten times that amount with out any issues.
The area involved is less than 1 acre and no permits should be needed. As a precaution I can put some hay bales across the bottom of the draw but with there being as much vegetation between Manor Dr and the top where they would be dumping I don’t think is should be a problem.
This would save the contractor time and mileage and would help get us a little more usable park space next summer. Nothing to write home about but some space.

I remember seeing George on Thursday as he was walking through all of this with Tim and he told me, that since Kelly’s focus was on Parks & Recreation and Anthony’s was on Public Works, Tim had asked him to keep those Council Members in the loop and ask for their input before proceeding. Judging by the reactions of both Kelly and Anthony on Facebook, they didn’t have an opportunity to respond to George – and things moved ahead, regardless.

Fill dirt and rubble dropped off in Bicentennial Park yesterday (10/30/19).

When these pictures appeared on the community’s Facebook page, residents started asking questions. Terry Stickler summed up the feelings expressed on the  page with the following:

Seems like Bicentennial Park has gone from being a nice park for residents and visitors, to becoming a dumping ground, first for brush and rubble, then for limbs and fallen trees, most felled and just left, and now 10+ big piles of dumped dirt and huge hunks of rock and looks like broken concrete, to say nothing of the ruts in the grass near the dump site. Very disappointing.

Today, I had a chance to speak with George and get some more clarification as to what happened. He explained that he’s been trying to fill in part of the swails behind the old radio tower, and to work on the sandy soil areas where the old ball diamond and volleyball court were located. His plan was to have the fill dropped off near the swail and then to use a Bobcat to push the fill into position and compact it a bit. Then, he would get some truckloads of compost from the Compost Facility in West Davenport and work it into the fill dirt and the sandy-soil parts of the park with a rototiller, preparing it for seed so Bicentennial Park would be a little larger and a little more usable as a result.

What is it that people say about the “road to hell” being paved with good intentions?

10 – 12 truckloads of fill dirt and rubble dropped off in Bicentennial Park on 10/30/19.

This situation demonstrates the need to establish a process for identifying areas of need, formulating a plan, asking for feedback from residents and those affected and then finalizing that plan (including costs) for presentation and review by the City Council. No such process currently exists. And if one does, then people don’t know about it so it’s not being followed.

But know this. We will establish these essential rules and processes and we will follow them in the future. 

And we’ll keep residents informed as to how this particular situation is being addressed – weather and conditions permitting.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below and we’ll endeavor to provide answers.

With snow in the forecast – there is a plan for Riverdale.

With snow in the forecast – there is a plan for Riverdale.

At last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting (10-22-19), the Council gave their go-ahead to City Administrator Tim Long to finalize arrangements with the City of Bettendorf for snow plowing and removal services this winter. The Bettendorf City Council is expected to review that the proposed 28-E agreement and provide their approval at their next meeting, in early November. Similarly, the board of Scott Community College is expected to review and approve a separate agreement with Riverdale to assure reimbursement for snow plowing and removal services provided by Bettendorf.

And then the weather turned.

The National Weather Service has now issued snow advisories for the next three nights (October 28, 29 and 30) and accumulations on roadways are a distinct possibility.

Based upon this information, the City of Riverdale has already been in contact with the Bettendorf Public Works department to discuss how the situation will be handled. In response, City Administrator Tim Long sent this email to the mayor and members of the City Council:

“Bettendorf’s director of public works confirmed this morning that if they are called out for snow tonight,  they will cover Riverdale under the terms of the agreement. Brian Schmidt also shared that their city Council was fully on board with this, and anticipated full approval at their next meeting.”

Similar conversations are underway at the moment with Scott Community College and we anticipate their acknowledgement of the situation and agreement to reimburse the City for their snow removal expenses if incurred this week.

Some things to keep in mind about snow and ice removal

Looking at the established snow and ice control policy for the City of Bettendorf (which will apply to Riverdale now, as well), it’s important to know the following:

1. Snow and ice control crews are called for duty by the Bettendorf Police Department when, in their opinion, streets are or will become hazardous.

2. The main objective for the plowing and salting of streets is: 1) arterial streets; 2) collectors; 3) local streets and cul-de-sacs/courts; and finally 4) alleys.

3. Once the main objectives are completed, crews will work on widening travel lanes and parking areas. The eventual objective of snow removal operations shall be bare pavement within twenty four (24) hours after the cessation of snow fall (for average storms of 4-6″).

4. The area between the curb and the lot line are generally used for snow storage. When necessary, snow accumulations will need to be pushed even further from the street edge to allow for additional storage capacity.

5. Crews will not remove snow from private driveways and access roads. Residents are prohibited from plowing or throwing snow from their driveway into city streets.

6. On streets which have mailboxes at the curb, crews shall come as close as possible to the box without damage. The remainder of the snow will be required to be removed by the property owner to insure mail deliveries. 

7. Residents are required to remove snow from around fire hydrants and to limit parking on streets until snow is pushed to the curb.

8. In the event a resident has a concern or issue about snow and ice control efforts around their home (e.g. your mailbox gets hit by a plow), please contact Riverdale’s public works/maintenance person to lodge your complaint. He will follow up with Bettendorf Public Works Department and coordinate a response. Using this email form is probably the best way to log your issue.

Once the final agreement is in place with the City of Bettendorf, we will publish a more complete outline of the agreement and guide for residents on the City’s website.

City Council discusses process for enforcing yard waste ordinance during the fall.

City Council discusses process for enforcing yard waste ordinance during the fall.

At last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting (10/22/19), the Riverdale City Council discussed what they thought was reasonable enforcement of the City’s code concerning a Resident’s responsibility to control their own yard waste – and how that code will be enforced this fall.

It was generally acknowledged that there are some “habitual offenders” when it comes to people raking or blowing their yard waste into the street so it can be washed down the drain. This can cause problems with the City’s stormwater system and violates City Code 135.03.

Council members felt one warning letter per household was enough of notice. After that, offending households will receive a citation from the City explaining the infraction, the amount of the fine and how to remedy the situation going forward. Fines will increase with subsequent infractions.

The Mayor explained that while the City recognizes that some residents live in areas where trees overhang and drop leaves, etc. into the street, the main concern of the Council related to those residents who push their yard waste into the street rather than preparing it to be hauled away and leaving it out for pick-up on Mondays after a weekend of yard work.

Why it matters. It’s not just about making sure Riverdale looks nice.

The fact is, Riverdale – like metropolitan cities across Iowa of every size – has to follow certain storm water management practices that are mandated by the State of Iowa. Among those practices is a requirement to eliminate as much plant matter from the storm sewers as possible.

That means we all have to work together to keep grass clippings, leaves, sticks and such out of our storm drains and sewers. Failure to do so could result in penalties from the State – and that would cost the entire community. 

The easiest thing to do to meet this requirement is to make sure your personal yard waste isn’t left in the street to go down the drains and into our storm sewers. 

What you SHOULD do.

Please either blow the debris back into your yard or bag it in kraft paper bags (like the ones shown) for weekly collection. Remember, yard waste collection is paid for out of the City’s budget as part of our waste management contract with Republic Services – so there is NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE to residents to do this.

If you don’t have large, kraft paper bags for your yard waste, you can use garbage cans instead. Just make sure the yard waste is loose in the cans so everything dumps out. Please DON’T BAG YOUR YARD WASTE if you put it in a garbage can.

Also, if you have sticks or branches that need to be hauled away, they need to be no thicker than your wrist and cut into lengths not to exceed four feet in length. Please bundle sticks and branches together so they’re easier to handle by the crew picking up yard waste on Mondays.

Yard waste pick-up will continue through November.

Council to consider establishing a sewer commission for 2020

Council to consider establishing a sewer commission for 2020

In an October 17th memo to the City Council, mayor Mike Bawden, provided some initial thoughts on setting up a City Sewer Commission for 2020. The item is one of several slated for the COMMITTEE REPORTS section of next Tuesday’s City Council Meeting (to be held at 10/22/19).

Mike Bawden, Mayor of Riverdale

In the memo, Mayor Bawden, said the time was right to consider such a proposal, given the fact that the City of Riverdale is “fast approaching a point where we’ll have a good handle on the anticipated costs of infrastructure upgrades that will need to be made at the Waste Water Treatment Plant in West Davenport. That is the plant that services all of Riverdale’s sewage, which is conveyed to the plant through an extensive network of pipes running from Panorama Park through Riverdale and Bettendorf to Davenport.

The expected increase in costs to the City and the fact that rates have not been adjusted for quite some time mean sewer rates in Riverdale are likely to rise quickly and dramatically. The purpose of a City Sewer Commission, then, is to provide residents with an opportunity to participate in the conversations and decision-making process when it comes to building, maintaining and paying for the system.

Sewer Rates are Expected to Rise in 2020

With the memo specifically mentioning rates, Mayor Bawden provides the following information:

The City of Riverdale’s rates have not been adjusted in many years, resulting in on-going losses in the City’s Sewer Fund. Infrastructure repairs need to be paid from this fund, as well, and this past year, the Council had to move money from our General Fund to the Sewer Fund to cover that expense. While this is allowable (and we had the cash to do it), in the future, we may need to issue bonds to cover infrastructure repairs/enhancements deemed necessary by the Council.

Commission Structure and Responsibilities

According to Mayor Bawden, the Sewer Commission would be designed to operate in a manner very similar to the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission:

Much like the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Sewer Commission would meet once a quarter in a public meeting (with a posted agenda and minutes) to hear presentations, conduct their deliberations, and vote on their recommendations. Official “actions” (e.g. authorizing expenditures, setting rates, etc.) would be taken by the City Council using the research and recommendations of the commission as an important source of information.

 

Every meeting held by the Sewer Commission would include, at a minimum, a financial report on the fiscal health of the sewer fund, a collections report identifying who is delinquent in paying their sewer fees, a projection of sewer fund viability at current/proposed rates, and appropriate monitoring reports on flow and other quality metrics deemed necessary by the commission.

 

The commission would be managed by a Sewer Commission Administrator (most likely the City Administrator) to make sure notices are posted and information is made available according to the State of Iowa’s Sunshine Laws. The chair of the commission would be expected to attend meetings of the Joint Sewerage Commission – the 28E that’s being formed by Davenport, Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park to oversee the operation of the 1973 Trunk Line, the Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Compost Facility.

So, what do you think of this idea? Let us know in the comments section, below …

Cleaning up your yard? Don’t leave it in the street!

Cleaning up your yard? Don’t leave it in the street!

As homeowners all over Riverdale start to get ready for falling leaves and the final weekends in the yard before the snow flies, we’d like to offer a friendly reminder: please don’t leave your yard waste in the city’s streets this fall or you could be fined for violated Chapter 135.05 of the Riverdale City Code.

In past years, the City hasn’t said much to residents who rake their grass clippings, sticks and dead leaves into the street. But now that Riverdale doesn’t have its own street sweeper and is paying an outside contractor to clean our streets, we’re mindful of the additional expense created when too much debris is in the streets to give them a good cleaning. 

We don’t sweep the streets just to make them look pretty

Leaves and grass clippings on Circle Drive sometime last fall. Please make sure your yard clippings and leaves are either burned or bagged this season.

In fact, quarterly street sweeping and drain cleaning is part of the City’s obligation to retain its storm water management certification, required for metropolitan cities of all sizes – including Riverdale. By keeping our streets and gutters free of debris, stormwater (like rain or melted snow) has a place to go and won’t pool up and freeze at night. That can save the City loads of money down the road by reducing maintenance costs and reducing risks and damage from pooling water.

This fall, City personnel will be checking our streets regularly to make sure yard waste is being handled correctly. Residents who don’t seem to have a handle on their wayward leaves and grass clippings will get a reminder notice in the mail, first. Continued failings/code violations will result in fines.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comment area, below.

Don’t forget to get your bulky waste out to the street on Friday!

Don’t forget to get your bulky waste out to the street on Friday!

Don’t forget – the citywide clean-up starts Saturday morning at 7am. If you want to make sure your bulky waste gets picked up, have it to the curb Friday night!

You can learn more about what to do with your bulky waste on Friday by going here.

How to get rid of hazardous and electronic waste

Some items shouldn’t find their way to your bulky waste pile on Friday. Hazardous items, like household cleaners, oil-based paints, solvents and the rest should be handled by people who know how to recycle and dispose of unwanted materials like that. Fortunately, the Waste Commission of Scott County has those capabilities.

The same is true for electronic waste like TVs, stereos, computers and other devices that run on electricity. In many cases, those items can be refurbished, resold and re-used. If not the Waste Commission is able to take them a part (de-manufacture) and resell the components and metals used to make them.

If you have electronic waste or hazardous materials, you can take those items directly to the Waste Commission of Scott County’s recycling center (click here for a map) in Davenport anytime during the year.

Sewer rates expected to rise in 2020.

Sewer rates expected to rise in 2020.

City officials have been telling Riverdale residents their sewer rates are unrealistically low for over two years. And now, after years of discussion and planning, costs for the shared sewer line running from Panorama Park to West Davenport have been determined by a joint body representing all of those communities.

That means the City of Riverdale can now re-set its sewer rates for residents to reflect the actual costs of belonging to this common utility.

While rates are expected to be re-set significantly higher than they have been in Riverdale, it’s expected that the rates will still be at or below rates for homeowners in Bettendorf or Davenport. Rates in Riverdale are currently as much as 80% lower than costs experienced by some Davenport homeowners.

So why has it taken Riverdale so long to re-set its rates?

There are two big factors that affect Riverdale residents’ sewer rates: determining how much of Riverdale’s “flow” is the result of commercial activity from Arconic and finalizing the cost of improvements to the jointly-owned waste water treatment plant required by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). That information now appears to be at-hand and negotiations with the IDNR to extend performance deadlines have also helped reduce costs to a degree.

The City’s plan, as it currently stands, is to start re-working calculations for sewer rates to reflect the current flow rates, planned improvements/upgrades to the City’s sewer lines (to reduce “inflow & infiltration” and, thereby decreasing flow to lower costs), and projected capital improvements at the waste water treatment plant in West Davenport. Ideally, that work will involve the new City Treasurer (assuming a satisfactory candidate can be found expeditiously).

Once preliminary calculations are done, the City will host an open meeting with the public to walk through the issues, process used to calculate the new sewer rates, projected effects of adding homes in the Woods Estates development and to solicit feedback.

There is no delay expected in first-quarter billing for 2020 at this time.

City Parks Planning Project

City Parks Planning Project

Kelly Krell, City Council Member

The City’s consulting engineer, MSA Professional Services, provided a draft of a parks planning proposal for City Council consideration. The initial draft had been reviewed with Council Member Kely Krell (who has helped drive the City’s parks and recreation projects for the past 18 month or so).

The current draft is under consideration by the Council who will discuss it in more detail at their 10/22 meeting. The cost for the consulting services is $12,600.

Project Details:

Scope of Work:

The proposal from MSA consists of three parts:

PART 1: Project kickoff and analysis of existing conditions; work will include development of maps of the existing parks and recreational facilities in the City of Riverdale; development of a map of the existing park service areas and the creation of a map showing existing trail and pedestrian systems.

PART II: Community engagement; work will include both face-to-face and online engagement of members of the community to gain their input and insights into what should be done with Riverdale’s natural assets.

PART III: Needs Assessment and Plan Development. 

Budget:

Consulting Services Budget = $12,600

Project Bid Date:

October 22, 2019

Project Start Date:

TBD

Project Completion Date:

TBD

 

 

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