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Bettendorf City Hall

Bettendorf City Hall

Bettendorf aldermen approved the city’s drafted $97.7 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Tuesday night, putting their final stamp on a spending plan city officials have touted as lean operating budget paired with aggressive capital investment.

The budget, which keeps the city’s levy rate at $12.50 per $1,000 valuation, sets aside $19.2 million for capital projects, $13.1 million to service debt and $65.4 million for operating costs. 

City officials in recent weeks, including Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher, have pointed to the city’s financial outlook as positive, highlighting a flat overall levy rate and debt-financed capital projects aimed at expanding the city’s tax base.

Major capital projects in the city’s budget include the continuation of a home buyout program for residences within the floodplain, the city’s share of payments for the ongoing I-74 bridge project and a major focus on streets and alleyways. Others include parks projects, money for Jetty Park and fixes for the city’s library.

To keep the levy flat, city officials have trimmed from special use funds earmarked for transportation, public safety pensions, liability insurance and employee health insurance, and moved that over to Bettendorf’s general fund. Also rising are fees collected for solid waste and storm water. 

Bettendorf residents whose houses are at the mean value — $233,889 — are expected to see an increase of $5.61 per month, or $67.32 annually.

City officials have also lowered the dependence on gaming revenues, a source of money that’s projected to decline in coming years. Gaming dollars to the city’s Family Museum and debt service fund are being phased out over the next several years under the recommended budget proposal as a way to build up the city’s discretionary fund balance to $2.3 million in five years. 

Municipalities in Iowa have until March 15 to get budgets certified by the county auditor’s office or face the penalty of losing all tax revenue for the year.

In other news:

Development incentive deal gets amended

Financial incentive deals for the TBK Sports Complex were tweaked under the direction of city officials.

The changes were detailed to council members Monday night during the city’s committee of the whole meeting. For example, one change alters the developer’s estimated investment in the area from $45 million to $50 million — a figure Economic Development Director Jeff Reiter says is still probably lower than what’s been put into the land. Another provision deals with the way the $5 per night room charge for nearby hotels that goes to the city is handled. Reiter noted a Cambria Suites hotel is expected to open in the area by July.

The complex, completed in summer of 2018, took roughly 11 months to build and has been celebrated as a major economic success by city officials.

Contractor chosen for sewer study

Aldermen approved a nearly $1.9 million professional services agreement for the purpose of further evaluation of the city’s sewer infrastructure.

The contractor, McClure Engineering Company based in Clive, Iowa, will monitor sewer flow to build on two earlier studies the company did. This time, the company is to develop a system model, make recommendations for future construction projects and help staff negotiate the city’s sewer agreement with area partners. 

Earlier evaluations by McClure involved small sanitary sewer studies of the I-80 and Middle Road corridor and installations of flow meters in areas all around Bettendorf, according to city officials.

Reporter Tom Geyer contributed to this story.

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