WEBSITE (27/32 points): Most information about the city of Bettendorf is available at bettendorf.org
From the homepage, City Council agendas and meeting minutes, dating back to 1999, can be found under the “Most requested” headline or the “Government” tab.
Under "Most requested," click the “Meeting agendas and videos” link, and you’ll find a way to search for meetings, agendas and accompanying videos. You also may view budgets dating back to the 2006 fiscal year, along with financial reports, videos of budget meetings and strategic plans. Packets for the board of adjustment, park board and planning and zoning commissions also are available. The website contains a comprehensive calendar of meetings and city happenings through August 2017.
Contact information for City Hall is displayed on the homepage. A staff directory also is available, where you can search by department, name or division to find emails and phone numbers. On the homepage, you’ll see “FAQ” and “Did You Know” pages featuring information about city projects, history, job postings, construction, road closures and services.
Also, a website-wide search bar is available on the homepage.
Need to file a FOIA request? The website says to contact City Administrator Decker Ploehn at a listed email address or phone number. We found no information about related FOIA fees.
MEETINGS (21/25 points): The city does not keep track of the number of city council meetings and/or executive sessions held each year, according to City Attorney Kristine Stone. However, all meetings and agendas are posted online.
Stone said the Bettendorf City Council typically has 24 regular meetings each year and additional work sessions can be added for specific topics or to cover budget preparations. The Quad-City Times also asked for the number of executive sessions in the past five years. The city doesn't track those sessions annually, but Stone provided numbers for 2015 and 2016, along with the reasons for going into executive session and whether action was taken. She also provided copies of minutes from the past five meetings where executive sessions were held.
In 2015 and 2016, the city held an estimated 52 meetings (regular and committee-of-the-whole) and nine meetings went into executive session, meaning about 20 percent of meetings were closed to the public in part.
BUDGET/FINANCIALS (35/35 points): The 2016-17 budget is outlined in an easy-to-navigate document that totals 383 pages. It can be found under the "Finance" tab on the city's website, where you’ll find budgets dating back to the 2006-07 fiscal year. The city attorney made the budget available to the Quad-City Times as a PDF document. It includes a summary for each section and several charts and tables. Also available is a budget review that offers a summary and highlights.
The 2017-18 budget is not yet complete, but a review is available online.
The Quad-City Times filed a request with the city to look at its expense reports over a specific week. In response, the city attorney said the city does not have a document that shows expenses for one week, because they are approved twice a month. Stone then provided a detailed expense report, covering two weeks. It included the specific week this newspaper inquired about, broken into a day-by-day list of of transactions.
RECORDS (10/10 points): The city provides access to most of its records online. Responses to FOIA requests were supplied by email within two business days. There was no fee for the documents.