Its pretty interesting to read the city's page of current purchasing bids. That page can be found here, http://cityofdavenportiowa.com/finance/purchasing/current.htm. Everything's on there from copiers, sod, or downspouts all the way up to the new police station. Its a good way to see what the city is really spending money for. For example, I have no idea what the "gateway features" they're bidding out are. Maybe new "Welcome to Davenport" signs?
The bid process that just expired today is for snow removal of various downtown items such as the parking garages. I never knew that the city hired this out to private contractors, or maybe this is the first year for it. Included in the same bid request is clearing sidewalks along parts of River Drive and the various bus shelters around town, among other things. Fans of privatization will surely be pleased that the city is utilizing private industry for some things that could be done by city employees, but it also begs the question of whether there are idle cty workers during the winter who could do some shoveling.
Many of the more juicy construction projects on the bidder page require that contractors either spend some money to get the project specifications or register for an architectural design website in the case of the police station. I suppose this makes sense so every Tom, Dick, or Blogger can't go constantly request pricy blueprints and such for every city project, but it seems like it could all be put online for free. I'm considering registering for the site to view the PD plans, but I'm not sure if non-contractors can even register.
Update on JLCS article: The pictures are stuck on my non-functioning computer, but I'll probably just post an image-less article in the next few days.