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Davenport's strength is built on its relationships, mayor says

Davenport's strength is built on its relationships, mayor says

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Davenport would not be in the position it is in now without the help of others, according to its mayor.

“The key to everything and the key to this region and the key to success is partnerships, teamwork and collaboration, Mayor Mike Matson said Friday during his state-of-the-city speech at Rhythm City Casino Resort.

Cooperation has helped Davenport weather the pandemic, and it will help it build a strong future, Matson said.

Matson highlighted a number of strong points and commitments for the city. They included the city’s financial health, the importance of attracting businesses, flood mitigation and the focus on public safety and infrastructure.

Accomplishing the city’s goals requires financial health, Matson said.

“A strong financial position has to be a part of that,” he said.

Having a balanced budget with at least a 25% fund balance continues to be a goal of the city government, Matson said.

That allows the city to get through a large-scale problem like the pandemic, and then begin to recover once it is over, Matson said.

The city’s investment in public safety is the biggest part of the budget, he said. It is also a large focus of the city’s relationships — Davenport is working with the U.S. Department of Justice, other Quad-Cities area law enforcement and the community to address public safety.

“And we’ll continue to try and find practices, resources and equipment to improve it,” Matson said.

This includes improving response times and establishing the youth assessment center, he said.

For infrastructure, many of the examples cited Friday were large-scale street and sewer projects, including updates to an aging sewer along the riverfront.

On flood mitigation, the city is expecting a final recommendation in the fall from an extensive study of how Davenport should handle future floods, he said.

On the business front, he touted Amazon’s selection of the city for a new robotics fulfillment center.

“We want businesses to thrive here, to grow here and to come (here),” Matson said.

Matson noted the efforts of the city council and staff; the Davenport Community School District; federal, state, county and other city governments for their roles in Davenport’s successes on those fronts. He also thanked a number of community stakeholders, including the Quad Cities Chamber and the Bi-State Regional Commission, for theirs.

Much of this effort is based on input from Davenport’s residents, he said.

“Some of the things that we do, talk about, are based on, again, what are people asking us, what are people thinking about?” he said.

The city’s elected officials and staff are committed to trying to meet those wants and concerns, Matson said.

The speech was recorded, and is available in its entirety on the city’s Facebook and YouTube pages. The mayor’s comments begin about 19 minutes into the video.

Several of the attendees of Davenport Mayor Mike Matson's state-of-the-city address were asked what they see as the biggest challenge for Davenport and its partners moving forward.

Tony Knobbe, a supervisor on the Scott County Board of Supervisors.

Crime is one of the bigger issues, he said.

“I’m very confident the mayor is on top of it. I’m very confident that our police force and sheriff are on top of it but not an easy — no easy solutions to that.”

Gena McCullough, assistant executive director and planning director of the Bi-State Regional Commission.

She said anything that can be done to keep people in the Quad-Cities or encourage them to come back and raise families will improve the region’s circumstances.

“I think the building and retaining jobs — the economic development side — is going to be critical for the Quad-Cities.”

TJ Schneckloth, the Davenport Community School District superintendent.

Coming out of the pandemic, the biggest challenge will be ensuring everyone is moving forward and in the same direction, he said.

“I think the mayor laid out a really good plan for that.”

Reactions to the mayor's address

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