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.