Monday, February 15, 2010

Dispatch Tax Stuff

Some people in the comments on the previous post are starting a discussion on the city's decision not to lower taxes to make up for the county's new emergency dispatch center tax. I certainly haven't denied that the county taking over taxing for dispatch services and the city not lowering their taxes is a tax increase. Its just that we've known about it for years, despite what some people are claiming.

Here's a QCTimes article from 2007 talking about how they plan to use money saved by the (2009, ha!) opening of the consolidated dispatching center to hire front desk clerks for the police station. So you can see that at least 2 and a half years ago the city knew that they were going to be keeping at least some of the tax money currently spent on dispatching.

Sometimes unpopular things are the right thing to do. The article in today's Times about the AA bond rating is really a final verdict on the unpopular stormwater fee. If the council hadn't passed that "budget-fixing fee" a few years ago, the city budget would be in far worse shape. Instead, we've gone a number of years without the threat of police layoffs that used to be an annual event. So yes, taxes and fees in Davenport have been slowly rising over the last decade, but so has the quality of life. If we can keep making Davenport a better place to live, we should start gaining enough residents to spread the future costs out over more people, and keep taxes and fees steady.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Refresh the Hilltop and more riverfront meetings

A couple things about the Hilltop Campus Village.

In the paper today, the Aldi and former Walgreens on Brady will be demolished, and replaced with a larger, nicer Aldi. The one out at 53rd and Elmore certainly has a different feeling than most Aldis or Save-A-Lots that I've been in. I'm sure city staff are trying valiently to convince them to build a non-suburban style store. It didn't work with Walgreens, so we'll see if it does with Aldi.

In the "thinking outside the box" category, the Hilltop district is competing in the Pepsi Refresh Project. This project consists of a Pepsi promotion to give away millions of dollars to good causes, based on people voting for their favorites. Hilltop is asking for $25,000 to buy metal trash bins to put around the neighborhood with the Hilltop logo on them. The top 10 projects seeking $25k get the money, and right now we're 96th. You can vote each day, and the contest ends at the end of the month. Vote for Hilltop here! I've probably spent that on Pepsi over my lifetime anyway...

And the other thing is an upcoming meeting. Here's what the city has to say about it:

The Levee Improvement Commission, Davenport Parks and Recreation and the Design Center want to know your ideas for developing the East Industrial Area (along the Mississippi River just up river from the Government Bridge).
Join us on Monday, February 8th from 5 - 7 PM in the Film Room at the Main Street Library in downtown Davenport for an Open House as we kick-off the planning process.
Be a part of history!

I kind of liked the suggestion that a casino take over the Clayton House/Clarion/HoJo/eyesore property and be connected via pedestrian bridge across River Drive to a restaurant and plaza along the river. There would still be a lot of room upstream for more uses if that happened, which seems about 1% likely anyway. I plan to go to the meeting and see what's happening. These are where these things are decided, after all, not the smoky back rooms that the negative folks picture.