Saturday, December 10, 2005

Continuing Our Tradition of Crazy Lawsuits

Court action seeks to stop city spending

One of their complaints is apparently that the current council can't do this because its close to the end of their term. Here's a newsflash ladies: yes they can. They were elected to serve until January, not until November. Somehow I think if the roles were reversed, and the incoming council was the one going out, and they tried to limit city spending for the next council, the ladies wouldn't have any problem with that particular "tying up" of newly elected council folks.

Apparently this 50 cents per $1,000 of property value is just going to break the bank for these ladies. If they are living in $100,000 homes, that's $50 a year. I'd be more than willing to bet they spend that much money in a year driving to City Hall twice a week. Yet this weekly expenditure doesn't force them to move away. Better give the Today show a call and tell them their story about how affordable Davenport is must have been wrong. Or wait until you move to Seattle or Phoenix or even Des Moines and see what you can get for your $100,000, and what their taxes are.

Lets face the facts people: Federal taxes have decreased. This has put more of the burden for paying for services onto local and state governments. The state then turns around and passes their burden to the cities. Unfortunately, the cities don't have anyone to pass the buck to except us, the citizens. Fortunately, the lower federal taxes supposedly put more money in our pockets... to give to the city. People continue wanting the same, or even more services, but without an increase in taxes or fees. I believe the insurance of every person reading this costs more this year than it did 2 or 3 years ago, but the city is expected to pay for health care of its employees on a stagnant income? That's impossible, so our current council has tried to be proactive and do things that might cause Davenport's population and tax base to grow. The building I'm living in is an example, and driving through downtown last night I saw several more examples of increased tax base directly tied to River Renaissance and other proactive things Davenport is doing. When city costs still rise with a stable or even decreasing number of employees, staying the same is falling behind.

After watching this election, if I ever run for council in Davenport I'll just tell people I can quickly eliminate taxes and fees altogether, yet somehow increase services and pave all the streets with gold. Logic just doesn't work on some people. Quite possibly enough people to get elected.

It feels good to rant once in a while.


At 12/10/2005 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI..Tell us about how much the building you are living in is paying in taxes?

At 12/10/2005 10:48 AM, Blogger East Ender said...

Who cares how much that building pays in property tax. You tell all of us where that building would be without TIF.

If it takes a little tax incentive to get some private investment in this community I'm all for it.

At 12/10/2005 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Charlie! Great input?

At 12/10/2005 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lay out the goods on your building, QCI. All of us could use a couple million in tax breaks.Show the rest of us how to can live in Davenport and not pay for services like police, fire, snow removal and running city hall. Makes sense you are not complaining about taxes because you are not paying them. Might as well live in Bettendorf.

At 12/10/2005 1:00 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

For one, its not tax-free forever, and also residents certainly do pay sales tax, which helps pay for plenty of local stuff. If this building causes a young person to either stay in Davenport or move to Davenport, it was a success. Plus, as someone said, this building was an eyesore and this neighborhood was dead before the renovation. There is also the impact of the construction jobs being provided by the ongoing revitalization of the Crescent district.

If you feel you could use a couple million in tax breaks, feel free to renovate another blighted downtown warehouse.

But of course no one responded to the meat of my post, they just attacked me personally. Since the againsters got a question, I'll now ask one: How can this lawsuit win?

At 12/10/2005 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lawsuit can win because it raises legal questions about the actual items being purchased on behalf of the taxpayers, such as possible EPA hazards at the site where the police station is supposed to be built, and the possibility that the core of engineers might not allow the boat to be moved to its intended site and yet money is being committed in advance of that decision to the levee project. This could all be ruled capricious and arbitrary by a judge, and then the new council would get to decide the fate of the 36.1 million in bonds. I sure hope that occurs. I will tell you one thing, if I were sitting on the current council, I would NOT allow the bond sale to go through until I at least waited to see if the judge would throw the case out. If not, I think it could put me at personal legal risk. Those are three very smart little old ladies!

At 12/10/2005 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy? Yes, crazy as a fox. WALSF

At 12/12/2005 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try and tell me how reasonable it is to live in Davenport. My dad lives in Florida on a Country Club. We both have 2400 square foot homes with swimming pools. I have 3 car garage, He has a 2 car garage. His taxes include 16 services like storm utility fee, recycling fee and garbage pick up etc.
His taxes are 4500.00 dollars less than mine, with no state income tax.
The taxes on my business property just went up $17.82 a day. That's $6500.00 a year. Had to sue the city to keep it at that. They wanted twice that.
Now come the $792.00 storm utility fee.

At 12/12/2005 8:49 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

So why aren't you moving there? Why aren't all Davenport folks moving to live the luxury life in Florida if its cheaper? All the news articles that list Davenport as being one of the most affordable cities in the country are just wrong?

I don't buy it.

At 12/12/2005 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You better start buying it. Guys like the last one are moving out of Davenport. That is why we have so damn much vacant property. I realize you are just a young pup and don't understand economics very well because you have yet to own your first piece of real estate, but there are commercial vacancies everywhere in this town. We have huge numbers of abandoned houses, and the HAPPEN program is yet to produce even one success. Our area is failing economically. The only hope we have is that the new council will cut taxes and fire some free spending staff.

At 12/12/2005 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, we're failing economically in Davenport, Niky Bowles is putting up a $30 million development and everytime I drive north of Kimberly there are more and more expensive homes and apartments going up. Somethings wrong with this picture, we're failing and yet more and more money is being pumped into the community for new housing.

That money is coming from somewhere and the people that buy those homes or condos must have jobs somewhere, so where is the failure? I didn't even mention the loft development downtown that is also addding value to our community or the Elmore development. So where is the failure?

Retired people may be moving out of Davenport, either to warmer weather or because of Iowa's antiquated tax system that puts a heavy tax burden on pension income, but that is something that has been going on for decades.

By cutting taxes and firing city staff we are only going to lose services that the citizens demand, it certainly is not a quick fix to any economic problems that you think we have.

At 12/12/2005 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong. Nicky's development and the other things you named were started prior to the new bond issue and prior to stormwater fees.

Not a lot of new things going up, but plenty of new things failing. Look at Youngstown Cafe and RJ Boars, both of which are new things that recently failed. Had Walmart known they were goint to be taxed $30,000 + per year for stormwater alone (per store), they would have built in Betendorf or Eldridge.

On the residential side of things, home sales are coming to a crawl. I know of one builder who will be giving back a $400,000.00 home to the bank soon. I wonder, who will be the last one in Davenport to turn out the lights???

Go old ladies!!!

At 12/13/2005 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, The first nine months where my Dad lives in Florida, they issued 7964 permits for new homes.
Does anybody have a clue how many were issued in Davenport or the whole Quad Cities even?

At 12/13/2005 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the baby boomer generation is retiring and moving to Florida, does that really come as any big surprise?

The Monday Des Moines Register ran a story about how the 2010 census is going to result in a redistribution of the House of Representatives seats. Florida is going to pick up several seats while almost every state in the rust belt, including one from Iowa, is going to lose seats.

Those people aren't moving to Florida because there are jobs there. their going to retire.

At 12/13/2005 11:38 PM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

From a previous post...
The taxes on my business property just went up $17.82 a day. That's $6500.00 a year. Had to sue the city to keep it at that. They wanted twice that.
Now come the $792.00 storm utility fee.

Interestingly enough comemrcial property is taxed more than residential. The age old argument goes as a matter of equity residential taxes should increase and commercial taxes should be lowered. Of course, who wants to reform a system if it means pissing off voters. Fortunately for legislatore, businesses don't vote.

Florida may not not have an income tax but they make up for it: sales taxes, excise, B&O, property taxes, oil and gas production taxes, a coporate tax, licensing fees, and of course the real estate excise tax. 36 taxes in all.

Goverment and the services we depend are only possible because of taxes. States and localities might do things differently thanIowa, but in the end the revenue must come from somewhere and there are enough different taxes out there to allow even the most "tax free" state to collect the revenue they need.

At 12/13/2005 11:50 PM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

I might also add Florida has some of the most egregious impact fees in country. Its a popular way for localities to provide the services residents demand. Its a tax, and though its not often seen, they are paid by anyone who buys a new home. Impact fees help price people out of the market.

At 12/14/2005 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The previous poster is right, Davenport real estate has slowed to a crawl. And, Iowa has some of the highest income taxes in the whole nation!

At 12/14/2005 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5:06 pm said:

"Not a lot of new things going up, but plenty of new things failing. Look at Youngstown Cafe and RJ Boars, both of which are new things that recently failed."

How do you blame the failure of a couple of restaurants on taxes and fees? Hell, they folded BEFORE the storm water fee even started to be collected. Don't you think bad management, bad food or saturation of restaurants have anything to do with it?

Also, you said,

"Had Walmart known they were goint to be taxed $30,000 + per year for stormwater alone (per store), they would have built in Betendorf or Eldridge".

How do you figure? Eldridge and Bettendorf have storm water fees also. Hell, Davenport was the last city to enact one!!

At 12/14/2005 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that Iowa is rated the worst state in the union to business in because of taxation. Wonder why most jobs are going to Nevada, Florida, and Texas. Could it be there the lowest taxed states in the union.

At 12/14/2005 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, How may single dwelling permits have been issued in the whole Quad City area. The 7964 permits were issued in a town of only 140 thousand.

At 12/14/2005 9:57 AM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

Did you know that Iowa is rated the worst state in the union to business in because of taxation. Wonder why most jobs are going to Nevada, Florida, and Texas. Could it be there the lowest taxed states in the union.

You are right and in fact I said that by noting Iowa taxes commercial property at a much higher rate than residential. Both Democrats and Republicans agree the property tax system needs to be reformed in this state. Do you do it by taxing residential property more? Raising the sales tax? Impact fees? You can't arbitrarily lower taxes and expect everything to work. The needed revenue will come from somewhere.

Other states, like Florida, have realized this. They may not have an income tax, but they have generous impact fees, excise taxes, corpirate income, B&O, a larger base sales tax and others to feed the wheels of government.

Each state is different and it is intellectually lazy to claim that its cheaper to live in Florida because residential property in Florida is taxed significantly lower than commercial property in Iowa.

At 12/14/2005 3:24 PM, Anonymous Truth Teller said...

RJ Boars and Youngstown folded because the market is overheated, and the prospect of the stormwater fee was just more icing on that cake. Even with their existing stormwater fees in Eldridge and Bettendorf (which are much lower by the way than Davenport's stormwater fees), Eldridge and Bettendorf both offer much lower property taxes per thousand than Davenport. Bottom line, Bettendorf and Davenport are lower taxation cities, which contribute to their growth.

And, for our friend liberal dork, er, I mean kitty cat lion or whatever you are, the solution is simple. You don't pay for ever increasing government. You CUT existing government. I won't bore you with the details, there have been lengthy discussions on that issue and the many cuts that could be made in Davenport's budget.
Just check the blogs.

Give Shawn Hamerlink a black pen and a copy of the proposed budget, and he will take care of that issue for you. And, he won't be cutting in basic services!
You really want to know where the problem lies? Let me put it this way: Even Malin agreed with Charlie that he has had the pleasure of sitting his lard ass in much finer surroundings than the abhorrent "cave" that the council is forced to meet in. It is just that kind of attitude, which prevails in City Hall. Why, the only choice we have is to raise taxes to keep the City running in the style to which it has become accustomed. There is simply nothing else that can be done. God forbid we should cut the budget.

At 12/14/2005 4:58 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

The problem isn't an ever increasing city government, its the ever increasing costs of the city government we have now. For Davenport to provide the exact same services it did 5 years ago would cost considerably more this year. People can't seem to understand that.

At 12/14/2005 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two problems. Davenport creates more stuff to pay for all the time. (EXAMPLE: We just can't exist another minute in that abhorrent cave we call the Council chambers, and we have to have a sky bridge for bums to piss on. By the way, the sky bridge will have $300,000.00 per year upkeep with elevator maintenance, heating bills so the glass does not crack, expanded police protection etc.).

Secondly, we can't cut a thing that we already have in this town. (EXAMPLE: We have ten full time rental inspectors; so we must keep all ten. We pay firemen for time they spend doing grocery shopping; so we must continue to do so. We have very small city deductibles for health insurance, so we must keep the status quo.)

The only possible solution? God forbid we should cut our style of living. After all, King Charles must have a gold plated thrown for his lard ass to sit in, we couldn't possible have him stay in that cave we have now. Prairie Heights must be developed as "new urbanism", even if we 400 developers have said "no". Therefore, the taxpayers must take a loss on the value of the land in order to induce Regency homes to this project, because our staff knows better than 400 developers.

I can't wait for the new Council!

At 12/15/2005 7:39 AM, Blogger 50something said...

"We pay firemen for time they spend doing grocery shopping; so we must continue to do so."

WHAT?? Give me a break!!! These people are on duty 24 hours a day. If they get a call, they drop whatever they are doing, including shopping for food, to save your ass. How would you survive for 24 hours without eating??

At 12/15/2005 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess what? I don't get paid $20.00 per hour to do my grocery shopping. They should recieve a fair wage, and still be on call. Does a Doctor who is on call get to bill his patients when he grocery shops? I think not. That is what is wrong with this town. Spending is way out of whack!!!

At 12/15/2005 1:36 PM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

Did you ever think the fire men who you see shopping are shopping for food for the firemen on call, at the fire house? They have kitchens, beds, televisions, exercise equioment, recreational stuff etc. They have to eat and someone has to get their food might as well be them. I suppose we could add another FTE to do that, maybe we could even cater their meals but I suspect both would cost more. While we are at it we should tell them they shouldn't watch tv, sleep, exercise, or do anything else while they are waiting for something to burn down. They should punch in when they leave the station and punch out as soon as they get back.

At 12/15/2005 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, liberal spending freak,

The fireman are WAY overpaid. They don' also need to get paid for grocery shopping. I don't care if they shop for each other, that is not fireman time. They should get a salry, and not be paid in addition to shop for wheaties by the hour.

-A concerned taxpayer

At 12/15/2005 2:53 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

So they're supposed to shop on their own time for work supplies? Do you do that? If they're so overpaid why don't you apply, since apparently its an easy gig.

Being a firefighter is incredibly hard, and they are paid accordingly. In addition to the stereotypical risking their lives in fires, they also have to deal with dangerous criminal situations when trying to rescue assault victims or investigate meth labs. I don't think attacking the people that keep us safe is going to find many supporters.

At 12/16/2005 12:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pure BS. The cops have equally dangerous lives, and they are not paid nearly as well. No, they don't need to be paid for picking up their gallon of milk. And no, I don't know of anybody else that is paid like that either.

At 12/16/2005 9:51 AM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

But cops actually work shifts that end in hours not days. Firefighters are routinely on call for days at a time. They live in the fire house.

At 12/16/2005 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't care where they live. Doctors are on call too. Nobody gets paid to shop for their bacon and eggs!

At 12/17/2005 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, this is an accepted practice throughout the U.S. except in small towns with mostly volunteer forces. I don't have a problem giving this to them. If you don't like it, suck it up. There are plenty of things the city spends money on that I don't agree with. That's life.

At 12/18/2005 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it were an accepted practice, I still would not go along with it. Bottom line: Davenport's firefighters are way overpaid.

At 12/19/2005 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What makes you the expert on what a firefighter should make?

At 12/19/2005 11:48 AM, Blogger 50something said...

So tell us, how much does a DFD fireman get paid, since you seem to know? And what is there duties?

And while your at it, what do you do for a living, and how much do you get paid. Then I can arbitrary decide if your overpaid.


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