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|Davenport City Election Guide|
|Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics|
|Written by No Author|
|Tuesday, 30 October 2001 18:00|
The River Cities’ Reader sent surveys to the candidates in all contested races in Davenport’s November 6 general election. Their responses are reprinted below, and candidates are ordered alphabetically.
For space reasons, several questions have been omitted. All candidates who responded said they support televising the Public with Business section of council meetings, and nearly all support allowing the public to address the council on individual agenda items. (William C. Holgorsen said he does not support this, adding, “There is plenty of opportunity during the public-hearing phase.”)
Roxanna Moritz (1st Ward), Bryan T. Zarn (4th Ward), and John Arthur Narby (8th Ward) did not return candidate surveys. George T. Nickolas is running unopposed in the 2nd Ward.
While development has been active on Davenport’s north side, the city’s west side and downtown haven’t attracted nearly as many new businesses. What specific actions do you think should be taken to remedy that?
Briefly explain the concept of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), and list the specific criteria that would need to be met before you would support its use.
What specifically should the city do differently to attract more high-quality jobs with high wages? Aside from marketing and current economic-development tools such as TIF and tax breaks, what are your ideas for new programs or incentives to attract new businesses to the city?
While everybody agrees Davenport has major infrastructure shortcomings, the city council has not yet identified a way to pay for necessary street and sewer repairs. Explain whether and how the city can make necessary repairs without cutting city services, even if the tax base grows only at the same rate it has for the past decade. Please detail any new revenue sources you propose to use to prevent service or program cuts.
What role should a Comprehensive Land-Use Plan play in the City of Davenport’s planning process? What should be the key features of such a plan, and under what circumstances (if any) would you support deviating from the plan?
The city’s Trust & Agency Fund is being drawn down because of the costs associated with self-insurance. What specific actions would you support to stabilize the fund?
Do you support repealing the city ordinance requiring companies that do business with the city or receive city incentives to pay employees a living wage?
Do you support repealing the city ordinance protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people from discrimination?
City staff has identified contract home sales as a significant problem, because they tend to lead to substandard housing and because buyers often build little or no equity in the homes and frequently end up forfeiting them. Which of the following do you support in terms of local regulation of contract sales?
a) No local regulation
b) Required point-of-sale inspections
c) Regulations on certain features of contracts, such as interest rates, balloon payments, and the amount of monthly payment applied to principal
Which of the following options do you prefer for the 220 acres the city owns at 53rd Street and Eastern Avenue? (Choose one.)
a) Sell all of the land
b) Keep all the land as a “passive park” without amenities
c) Keep all the land and develop a park with amenities
d) Sell the frontage property on 53rd Street and keep the rest of the land for a park with some amenities
e) Keep all the land and develop a golf course
f) Keep less than one-quarter of the land for some public use and, after development controls are in place, sell the remainder of the property
Charles W. Brooke: Developers have seen opportunities to make bigger profits by putting the new stores between Bettendorf and Davenport. The new houses etc. have preceded and followed the new stores. There also has been good growth in northwest and north central Davenport, and along West Locust Street. Specific remedies to encourage growth in other areas of town are: improved teamwork and image at City Hall; improved “can-do” attitude throughout town; several city-led projects in these areas (e.g., extending Division to River Drive, removing the rubble, etc.); incentives to existing businesses to expand; incentives to new developers/employers/builders, including TIF districts etc. where appropriate; and fix the sewers and streets and build new sewers, especially in West Davenport.
When we do these things, growth will come and increase our tax base and good jobs.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: The passage of the River Renaissance will help downtown development.
The improvement of Locust Street and the addition of a sewage line along that corridor will create the possibility for development along I-280.
The use of brownfield monies will help improve the area along Rockingham Road.
Charles W. Brooke: TIF is an incentive to builders, owners, etc. to undertake the risks of construction, where the taxes on the increase in value of the construction are used to pay off the low-cost bonds used to get the money needed for the construction.
I would support the use of a TIF or other incentive where it is essential to allow the construction. Another factor would be the creation of new, good-paying jobs. Another would be the nonresidential nature of the construction. This issue cannot be simplified enough to use litmus tests.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: TIF is used as an incentive tool through the interruption of new tax dollars to promote the infrastructure of an area of development. The use of TIF should happen when the project will increase benefits to the citizens of Davenport. If having the business or project will add jobs, increase quality of life, or provide specific unavailable benefits, it can be an effective tool.
Charles W. Brooke: See the answer to Question 1. A new mayor who practices teamwork, the new leaders at DavenportOne, the new city administrator, the new superintendent of the school district, the new DOT commissioner from Davenport, and the great diverse support of River Renaissance by nearly all Davenporters all will make a big difference to prospective employers. We also should finally get our share of federal and state dollars. The readiness of the Northwest Boulevard business park will also make a difference.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: With the existence of the industrial park there are opportunities available for new business. With the fact that 70 to 80 percent of additional jobs come from existing business, I believe that we need to go out and ask our present businesses what we can do to help them expand. Then the city needs to take an active role in providing the businesses with what they need.
Charles W. Brooke: See the answers to Questions 1, 2, and 3. We are poised for great strides and an increased tax base.
To finally fix and extend the sewers, a bond issue also would be appropriate.
If the street and sewer work is scheduled under objective criteria, as in Bettendorf, our citizens will be patient and go along with those choices in the competition for scarce tax dollars.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: Using your scenario of no increased tax base, I believe we need to keep the rate of streets as high a percent as we have for the past two years. I think we need to actively lobby the legislature to increase our amount of road-use tax dollars and require increased attention by the state government to such state roads as Kimberly.
Charles W. Brooke: It should be the guide under which individual decisions and choices are made. It should be updated often. It should plan where and what type of building would be encouraged, with incentives if necessary. Deviations would be appropriate if the benefits of the deviation outweighed the detriments. Plans are outlines, to be followed if appropriate but not cast in stone.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: The Comprehensive Land-Use Plan should play a major role in the city planning process. The plan should indicate what the city wants to do not only in areas that have not been built up but also changes that should occur in our present existence. The process to deviate from the plan through the plan-and-zone process would require changes only on a case-by-case basis.
Charles W. Brooke: I would support any actions to reduce the expenses or increase the income. Davenport does not pay its workers as much as other competing cities, but it did give them better benefits, like medical-care coverage. A way of correcting this imbalance needs to be negotiated with city workers. If there were easy answers, it wouldn’t still be a problem after eight years.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: Government has various funding streams that are regulated and controlled. It is a question of stabilizing the fund or perhaps a better way to approach it is to increase the health and safety of our employees.
Charles W. Brooke: I don’t know yet. I am concerned about Davenport’s adopting laws that drive jobs away to other cities that do not have such “taxes.” I understand Council Bluffs is repealing its similar ordinance for this reason. (I thought this was a resolution and the term “living wage” was omitted.)
Denise K. Hollonbeck: Because this is a new ordinance, the impact is still unknown. As a city representing many people, we need to keep our options open.
Charles W. Brooke: No.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: No.
Charles W. Brooke: I am not ready to enact a law yet to deal with this problem. The “lenders” are willing to agree to inspections and other safeguards. Sometimes contract sales are the only way some buyers can obtain a house. Civil law has remedies if there is abuse, legal aid has excellent attorneys, and the attorney general is aggressive in attacking abuses, too, under current laws.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: There has been a resolution to this process that is acceptable to all parties involved.
Charles W. Brooke: None of the above. Appoint a new committee open to all alternatives, and let it hold hearings and come to a conclusion. Let’s make a decision and move on.
Denise K. Hollonbeck: Knowing only what I know now and not having all the facts from the committee that researched this issue, I would prefer to sell the frontage property on 53rd Street and keep the rest of the land for a park with some amenities.
At-Large (Vote for two)
Steve Ahrens: Growth must touch all neighborhoods in Davenport. We must be willing to invest in the areas of our community that have not seen their full potential. This is why I believe my serving on the Brownfields Task Force is important as we take a look at areas (in this case, southwest Davenport) that are perceived to be undevelopable. We need to remove any stigmas and create the climate for development. With the recent passage of River Renaissance, revitalization is well underway in our downtown. We need to listen to existing small-business owners in this and other areas of the city, and together, develop a plan to make certain investment occurs. The best way the city can partner in these endeavors is to enhance our infrastructure. We need to begin implementation of the Stanley Report, which identifies stormwater-expansion and -enhancement needs, as well as step up our efforts in street maintenance.
Roland Caldwell: The city has stimulated downtown development through the River Renaissance project, and more business firms should locate downtown because of this project. The next step is to help develop a housing component for downtown and the areas near the downtown. West-side economic development will be aided by expanding sanitary- and stormwater-sewer systems to this area. The biggest aid will be the creation of the west-side sewer tunnel to relieve the buildup on the Jersey Ridge tunnel, which now carries 75 percent of Davenport’s sewage. Economic development on Davenport’s west side, especially north of Locust Street, will be stalled until we can fund this $20 million tunnel.
Tina M. Clawson: The passage of the River Renaissance plan is the beginning of bringing new life to downtown Davenport. The citizens of Davenport will be supportive in future programs, when they see the revitalization happen.
Small businesses have to be protected, and our local business leaders have to feel a part of the planning process and be able to influence future goals of the city.
Businesses should consider using empty buildings, before construction of new ones.
Neighborhoods that will attract businesses will have to be protected from vandalism/crime. Customers will have to feel safe when they shop. Good lighting, parking, and community policing in high-risk areas.
A solid comprehensive plan needs to be updated for the whole city that promotes even growth throughout the city. We need to plan to ensure the city will provide for infrastructure needs for at least 9 to 15 years in the future.
The lack of affordable and available housing is a big problem. Businesses will locate near areas where people can afford to shop, work, and live. We need to have living wages to help eliminate poverty levels, also.
Jamie Howard: I think we should make sure that the River Renaissance project goes through as planned. We cannot drop the ball on this. We need to continually recruit new business and industry that would complement the development. We already have a proposal in place to expand West Locust that has potential to create new development or re-development. We have to keep in mind that we have to address the sewer inadequacies before we can encourage growth.
Steve Ahrens: TIF to secure quality jobs is a positive economic tool in our tool belt. Competition among municipalities in this region is intense, and we need to be able to compete so that citizens of Davenport can enjoy the quality of life we would like. The criteria that would need to be met before I would support its use would include the positive impact to the neighboring area’s re-development as well as the development’s impact relating to high wage jobs.
Roland Caldwell: TIF is a mechanism by which public investments, which induce an increase in taxes, are paid for over a limited amount of time, by the increase in taxes. Legitimate uses for TIF include investments that create primary manufacturing jobs, and for investments in economically distressed areas to provide private amenities and to increase job opportunities for disadvantage people. To maximize the return to the taxpayer, TIF primary jobs should pay living wages, and TIF investments should significantly expand the tax base. If used for other purposes, TIF would provide an unfair advantage to some firms when compared to firms not financed by government resources.
Tina M. Clawson: TIF is an economic tool that should be used in areas that are not attracting businesses and for underdeveloped areas. It should be used to bring the quality of a neighborhood to the standard of living of the rest of the city. These businesses have to help with infrastructure costs to be considered for this funding source.
Jamie Howard: TIF is a tool used by cities and other development authorities to finance certain types of development costs. TIF enables a city to use additional property taxes generated by a new development to pay for certain development expenses. We can TIF new and/or private development that has proven potential to expand our tax base. We could also TIF to provide the necessary public improvements to attract the development.
Steve Ahrens: The first thing we need to do is to assemble a group of existing business owners from our community to engage in a dialogue on what is needed to secure more jobs. While we need to enhance our marketing efforts and be willing to invest by way of tax incentives, we also need to invest in our infrastructure and amenities stock. While there are no easy answers, the solution rests with a comprehensive approach.
Roland Caldwell: Increasingly, American businesses locate where they have access to skilled employees and amenities that enhance the quality of life for their employees. We must make Davenport and the entire Quad City area a more attractive place to live. This means improving the amenities available to the public and improving the public investments in streets, sewers, and public safety. Further, we should look to examples of successful communities that have developed new industries to increase wages and employment opportunities. The AgTech Venture Capital Center is one such example Davenport is currently pursuing in an effort to attract and create the industries of the future.
Tina M. Clawson: We have to recruit businesses to locate here. Our cost of living is below the national level, and we have excellent educational institutions and a good location for travel to several cities. We might have to look at zoning issues to help plan new growth in areas that were not zoned properly in the past to consider different development throughout the city.
Jamie Howard: I believe we need to remain current and pursue the priorities that businesses use in making location decisions. We also need to develop and market the skilled workforce that businesses and industries are looking for.
Steve Ahrens: It is clear that increased attention to our streets and sewers needs to be at the top of the list of priorities. We need to be willing to invest as a city if we are serious about attracting people and businesses to grow our tax base. I would typically support an incremental approach of increasing the amount we spend each fiscal year in the Capital Improvement Projects Budget without any increase in taxes. However, we know that under such a plan, it will be years before the aging street and sewer infrastructure is adequately addressed. Therefore, I would support additional bonding for specific projects as a viable solution that seriously invests in our infrastructure.
Roland Caldwell: The city has identified most sanitary- and stormwater-sewer problems and determined the price of each project. Sewer rates can fund sanitary-sewer projects, but the council should review current rates to determine fairness, and adjust the rates based on the requirement for maintenance by different commercial users. Stormwater-sewer projects do not have a regular funding stream. City staff has suggested looking at a stormwater utility fee similar to the system in Moline. If the council adopts this idea, we must be careful to ensure that the fee is fair and not too burdensome. The biggest project, the west-side sewer tunnel, will cost $20 million. The city should aggressively pursue federal funding, as our taxpayers cannot afford this project without help.
Tina M. Clawson: At some point, the city will have to consider a tax increase to cover our aging infrastructure. Property owners would agree to this if the city would put a freeze on property taxes for senior citizens and people on fixed incomes, and if the money were used only for this purpose.
Jamie Howard: First of all, I believe that we should investigate to make sure that all sewer fees go directly to sewer improvements and nothing else. I also feel that we might have to tap into our bonding authority to address the sewer inadequacies. As far as cutting city services and/or programs, we need to revisit and evaluate each department and make suggestions on how it can run more efficiently and cut costs at the same time. In some areas, perhaps we could infuse technology that would help to cut down costs.
Steve Ahrens: I view the updating of Davenport’s Comprehensive Land-Use Plan to be quite important. I believe the updating process could be a very positive one as we should bring together the diverse interests of the community and work to build consensus around our community’s roadmap for the future. I view the process to be as important as the document itself. The key features that the plan should include are attention to the short-term as well as the long-term residential and commercial growth of our community, infrastructure and technology needs, and comparable data from other communities.
Roland Caldwell: The comprehensive plan should not be narrowly construed as a “land use” plan, which traditionally deals with demarcating areas for particular levels of zoning. The comprehensive plan needs to embrace broader development policies – to what extent do we preserve open spaces, what recreational and residential uses are needed to accommodate growth, how to best develop around existing infrastructure, how do we prepare for attracting larger businesses, etc. Rather than deviating from the plan, the city needs to periodically reassess the assumptions on which the plan is founded. As these assumptions change the city should change the plan. It would be a mistake to think that a comprehensive plan can prescribe development needs well into the future without any ongoing assessment.
Tina M. Clawson: The plan should provide for even growth throughout Davenport. It should address the infrastructure and flood-prone areas and should stabilize neighborhoods and consider what our city should look like in 20 years. We should deviate from the plan when it doesn’t cover proper ways to control water flow, infrastructure needs, and proper zoning issues.
Jamie Howard: A Comprehensive Land-Use Plan is very important in Davenport’s planning process. However, I believe that such a plan has to be revisited on a continued basis for observation and data of current trends. The key features of such a plan include a wise use of land, commercially appropriate use of the land, and forward-looking siting of amenities. I do not think we should deviate from the plan.
Steve Ahrens: This is an area that needs attention now as any change is likely to be incremental. We need to find a long-term solution to stabilize the Trust & Agency Fund that provides better stewardship of taxpayer’s dollars while being fair to city employees. A likely scenario is to have more cost-sharing from the employee, thus enabling stabilization of the fund.
Roland Caldwell: Due to the size of the city’s workforce, self-insurance is less expensive than buying insurance from an outside company. All insurance plans have dramatically increased over the past year due to the increase in medical and drug costs. The city must work with its employees to find cost solutions to this problem. One solution has been negotiating a single plan with all of the bargaining units, thereby saving administration costs on multiple plans. Before seeking any benefit give-backs by city employees, the council should set an example of fiscal restraint by cutting its own budget, perhaps by rescinding the recently passed pay raise.
Tina M. Clawson: The city has to negotiate lowering the prices of insurance rates for employees during the bargaining phase. The city’s bargaining units must consider the cheapest and best benefits for the next budget cycle.
Jamie Howard: We need to look at revamping our health benefits and explore options for better health maintenance and better health costs.
Steve Ahrens: I do not support a living-wage ordinance. I do not believe that it is appropriate to add additional restrictions on businesses, making it more difficult to be competitive with other municipalities, especially in the current economic climate.
Roland Caldwell: No.
Tina M. Clawson: No. Single parents and lower-income families find it difficult to get out of poverty with minimum-wage jobs. Housing is hard to find for the average family without a living wage. I do believe there should be regulations in place for small businesses or companies with few employees.
Jamie Howard: I do not support living-wage mandates. I do think we should look into living-wage subsidies.
Steve Ahrens: Had I been on the City Council at the time of this particular vote, it still would have passed, but without my support. While I am not clear on the need and functionality of such an ordinance, repeal of this action is not on my list of priorities.
Roland Caldwell: No.
Tina M. Clawson: No.
Jamie Howard: I do not support the sexual-orientation ordinance.
Steve Ahrens: The state needs to better address the applicable consumer protection laws, which is not a function of local government.
Roland Caldwell: Required point-of-sale inspections.
Tina M. Clawson: Regulations on certain features of contracts, such as interest rates, balloon payments, and the amount of monthly payment applied to principal.
Jamie Howard: Of the two biggest contract sellers, one has opted to do prior/point-of-sale inspections and has an agreement with a not-for-profit organization. The other company no longer participates in contract sales. I believe we should have educational services available for potential buyers to assist in their consumer protection.
Steve Ahrens: A resolution to this issue must be found in the near future as it has polarized our community for too long. I favor keeping much of the land and developing a park with amenities. The main focus for this land should be to maximize its use and to manage growth in this area in an effort to provide the greatest benefit to citizens of Davenport.
Roland Caldwell: Sell the frontage property on 53rd Street and keep the rest of the land for a park with some amenities.
Tina M. Clawson: Keep less than one-quarter of the land for some public use and, after developmental controls are in place, sell the remainder of the property.
This is the closest choice to what I feel should be done. We need a full comprehensive plan in place that addresses the responsibilities for future developers. We need to move slowly enough to ensure infrastructure solutions and to put an emphasis on the best development for the taxpayers.
Jamie Howard: Keep less than one-quarter of the land for some public use (enough for a park) and, after developmental controls are in place, sell the remainder of the property.
Jim Schell: Credit Island could be the jewel of the Davenport park system by utilizing the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the harbor. The west end of the island could become a fine marina. A forestry plan that allows access to the river would make the area hospitable for new businesses.
Jim Schell: The shortsightedness of TIFs have made it nearly impossible for the city to provide basic services. I will support further use only if good jobs are guaranteed.
Jim Schell: Treat employers and companies right that are already here. Business leaders talk, and word of mouth could be our best advertisement.
Jim Schell: Cut waste and apply the saving to infrastructure needs. $80,000 was spent to recruit police, fire, and other department heads only to hire qualified department people already on board. Currently city staff can spend $50,000 to settle claims without council approval. All of this needs to be tightened up.
Jim Schell: It should be our plan to the future. It should take into consideration the need to provide street, water, sewer, police, and fire protection to the developing area without placing a burden on the older areas of the city. The plan should be flexible enough to make deviations seldom necessary.
Jim Schell: Aggressive risk-management policies should be assembled and followed. The city should not pay “nuisance claims.” The city should never pay a claim unless it honestly owes the injured parties.
Jim Schell: No.
Jim Schell: No.
Jim Schell: Required point-of-sale inspections.
Jim Schell: Sell all of the land.
Pat Egly: First we have to change our mindset away from 53rd Street and its “big box” mentality. We need to notice what other cities have done in bringing back their “center city.” Until that happens, nothing will change.
Dan Vance: The project to widen Locust Street from Fairmount to the I-280 interchange should be moved up. This also includes a new sewer to run adjacent to this project. With the previous council, this was a priority project, and was scheduled to have started. Once completed, it will bring new business to the west side of Davenport.
Pat Egly: Do I understand TIF? Yes. We need to return to its original intent: to improve blighted areas.
Dan Vance: Tax dollars that are used to support a specific project or area. The original criteria was to be in blighted areas, to improve and create opportunities. In the past it has been used within the state-law criteria. I feel each project should be looked at on its own merit.
Pat Egly: Perhaps we need to stop longing for the “pie in the sky” big businesses and focus instead on smaller, more substantial companies – perhaps even helping local or regional ones to grow.
Dan Vance: Create incentive packages, with the help of the Bi-State Regional Commission. For example, incentives for employees such as free usage of city amenities such as the library, pools, Adler Theatre, etc. This could be done for a period of time. The purpose is to provide incentives to a new company and its employees.
Pat Egly: There is a question of waste in our city budget and a further question of whether all sewer fees are now used only for maintenance and repair of our sewers. At times we need to tighten our belts and adjust our budget to address city needs rather than only our wants. Streets and sewers are our primary needs. The one new revenue source we might try is a user fee for all those contributing to our storm-sewer overload by making parts of their property impermeable to rain.
Dan Vance: Once monies have been identified for a specific purpose, such as sewer maintenance, those dollars should be used for that purpose only. Project funding should be set up for specific projects. There is too much movement of city dollars. Priorities have been set in the past, and at some point these priorities are moved to make new priorities.
Pat Egly: It should play a major role. It must be based on knowledgeable projections of future needs and growth and should include responsible development controls. It should be designed with much input from concerned citizens. Lastly, we must agree to follow this plan without deviation.
Dan Vance: Davenport has had a comprehensive plan in the past. As I understand it, the plan is still in the process of being revitalized. Key features should be zoning for housing, development, and quality of life (parks).
Pat Egly: I would need more specific information before making any suggestions. We might want to consider streamlining our business: city government.
Dan Vance: A higher co-pay for drugs. Higher deductibles.
Pat Egly: No.
Dan Vance: No.
Pat Egly: No.
Dan Vance: No.
Pat Egly: Required point-of-sale inspections; regulations on certain features of contracts, such as interest rates, balloon payments, and the amount of monthly payment applied to principal.
Dan Vance: Required point-of-sale inspections.
Pat Egly: None of the below. I would like to see a sports complex for juveniles (soccer, baseball, etc.) and use it for tournaments (local and regional).
Dan Vance: Keep all the land and develop a park with amenities.
Ray Ambrose: West Davenport needs our present sewer extended, and a new sewer tunneled along the rail tracks to the treatment plant. This will allow industrial and commercial development. We also need to do a better job with neighborhood and traffic safety. The west end and downtown Davenport streets should be safe enough that your family and loved ones could go downtown after dark.
Ray Ambrose: TIF begins with a designated urban-renewal area. Within the designated area is a Tax Increment Finance district. Property-tax money resulting from new development is kept in the district to continue to improve the area or until the project is completed. The City of Davenport has used TIFs successfully many times. The criteria I would use for TIF would be to limit its use to substantial economic developments such as industrial manufacturing or technologies.
Ray Ambrose: We need a community that is safe and wholesome with good infrastructure, good schools, and low taxes. I believe this will attract high-quality companies.
Ray Ambrose: We just completed a year-long sewer study. This study told us we need $180 million in upgrades and repairs over the next 20 years to meet the future needs of Davenport. The current council increased the sewer and maintenance budget so we can find and identify storm- and sanitary-sewer problems more quickly. I believe Davenport can do a better job with street and sewer maintenance without increasing taxes. Public works is getting better with maintenance, but we need to be proactive. When a street is cracked, the crack has to be sealed to keep water out. Sewer lines have to be studied with cameras, and when we find problems, we need to fix them before they get out-of-control and costly.
Ray Ambrose: A comprehensive plan is a blueprint of Davenport’s past, present, and future. The key to a good plan is based on how neighborhoods are balanced with commerce, along with infrastructure that is adequate and cost-effective to meet present and future needs.
Ray Ambrose: The Trust & Agency Fund is constantly being worked on to control costs. This is a problem many businesses share. We need to be sensitive to the impact of changes we make, and the effects of those changes on retired and active employees and their families.
Ray Ambrose: No. I voted to support the ordinance.
Ray Ambrose: No. I initially voted against it, but I would not vote to repeal it.
Ray Ambrose: Regulations of certain features of contracts.
Ray Ambrose: Keep less than a quarter of the land for public use after development controls are in place and sell the remainder of the property.
Wayne Hean: The River Renaissance project is a good step in the right direction for our downtown toward attracting new businesses. To support this re-development, we need to make the neighborhoods surrounding downtown more attractive for people to live and work in. This would help ensure success in also attracting new businesses to the downtown area. A concerted effort through private/public partnerships for the city’s west side could also result in positive steps toward re-development. We need to build on the foundation we’ve already laid.
William C. Holgorsen: Lack of infrastructure in the west of Davenport is retarding any growth in that area. Sewers must be addressed in order to open up northwest Davenport for growth. An aggressive approach to market the downtown area must be started.
Wayne Hean: Generally speaking, for TIF, bonds are issued that raise the funds required to finance the TIF project, and the property-tax revenues generated by the incremental value in the TIF area are used to retire the bonds. I would like to make Davenport the leader in the state of Iowa for proper use of TIF. Whether the TIF area would lead to a unique economic area that would not have occurred elsewhere in Davenport is a difficult question. Our city should pass a resolution not to use TIF as an economic tool unless it could be proved that such economic development would not occur but for the use of such a TIF district.
William C. Holgorsen: This is an economic tool to aid in re-development or new development. It should only be used as a last recourse and where new, good-paying jobs are at stake.
Wayne Hean: We can attract high-quality jobs with high wages by stabilizing our community and making it attractive to locate to. We must continue to educate a skilled workforce and then retain it in our community. By creating partnerships with our existing business leaders, who understand some of the needs that we should address, we will be able to develop solutions collectively. They are the same leaders who developed ideas such as the Scott Community College branch in the industrial park and the AgTech Venture Capital Center downtown. Both of these are addressing regional concerns in a highly educated workforce and leading-edge technology for all of eastern Iowa. We can work with our sister cities in Iowa to develop a shared infrastructure investment, regional transportation and sewer planning, shared strategies for targeting key industries, and no economic cannibalization. Businesses only expand where city services can support them. Good transportation, functioning sewers, smooth streets, and healthy, clean neighborhoods literally produce the foundation for good growth, so addressing these issues is also a vital part of making our city more attractive to new business.
William C. Holgorsen: We must set our sights to a higher level and independently seek out high-tech corporations.
Wayne Hean: We need to work with the new city administrator to find federal funding to do specific projects within our community. By using historic preservation as an economic-development tool, we have found TEA-21 federal funds to rebuild our historic brick streets. This will free up the dollars of our brick-streets budget to be spent elsewhere for street repairs. By working with the city administrator to seek out other federal dollars, we can go a long way in supplementing our streets and sewer budget.
William C. Holgorsen: We need to look at bonding for attacking the sewer shortfall. Revenues from the sewer user fee should pay for this.
Wayne Hean: The city comprehensive plan needs to be promoted as a community-based planning process with broad citizen participation in order to build local capacity to plan for sustainable development and to benefit from the insights, knowledge, and support of local residents. We need to cooperate with city neighborhoods and business interests within our city to work together toward the most efficient, planned, and cost-effective delivery of city services, while planning to ensure the compatibility of one area’s development with development of neighboring areas. We need to revisit and revise the city’s current zoning classifications and subdivision process to ensure that sustainable-development goals are met in new development. We need to incorporate an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance that provides a link between land-use planning, budgeting for capital improvements, and zoning ordinances for the area by requiring new development to locate where public facilities and infrastructure have capacity, avoiding wasteful duplication, reducing infrastructure-maintenance costs, and protecting natural resources for future generations. In conclusion, the city’s comprehensive plan needs to target our future development needs and put in place a program to revisit this plan every five years so we can maintain an exceptional quality of life in Davenport.
William C. Holgorsen: The comprehensive plan needs to be updated, remembering it is a guide to the intended uses in an area, such as residential, commercial, or industrial. Deviation from these areas should not happen.
Wayne Hean: A proactive approach would be to act with a citizens’ committee to evaluate the best possible alternative solutions to this problem. There are resolutions to this issue, but the city needs the right people to ask the right questions to arrive at the best solutions. Are we investing the Trust & Agency Fund balance properly to maximize our return? Have we examined other alternatives to being self-insured, such as using a health-care provider?
William C. Holgorsen: We must look into all areas of cost savings, perhaps even going away from self-insurance.
Wayne Hean: No.
William C. Holgorsen: No, as long as we are addressing full-time jobs.
Wayne Hean: No.
William C. Holgorsen: No, but I would not have voted for it in the first place, as this issue is already covered by state and federal laws. What a waste of time.
Wayne Hean: Required point-of-sale inspections.
William C. Holgorsen: No local regulation.
Wayne Hean: Keep less than one-quarter of the land for some public use and, after development controls are in place, sell the remainder of the property.
William C. Holgorsen: Sell the frontage property on 53rd Street and keep he rest of the land for a park with some amenities.
Mel Lower: We need to go out and recruit companies that are looking for a place to re-locate and show them all that Davenport has to offer its employees. And we need to promote that the west end is ready for them.
Bob McGivern: I have supported the downtown-development plan and believe the decision to construct two parking ramps created the momentum for additional private investment. The expansion of Locust Street west of Emeis has also created new development. By embracing the Stanley Report, Davenport’s west and northwest area will be well-served. The study delineates needed sewer and stormwater needs, mainly areas of repair or expansion. Foremost, the proposed Division Street sewer tunnel allows significant expansion for northwest Davenport. This sewer expansion will also enhance east Davenport, taking pressure of the Jersey Road sewer tunnel.
Mel Lower: To help fix up decaying areas. I would have to look at each case on its own merit.
Bob McGivern: TIF is the capture of new property-tax dollars created by a project and utilized to offset expenses of construction, redevelopment, or employment. As I recall, I have voted for three specific TIF projects in my first term. The criteria I have used include overall impact in terms of employment or potential employment and enhancement to surrounding infrastructure. It should be noted Davenport has self-imposed guidelines for utilization of TIF, and as a city, we have declined to utilize TIF for several projects.
Mel Lower: See answer to Question 1.
Bob McGivern: First, we need to realize 80 percent of job creation is derived from existing employers. We need to find greater avenues for existing businesses to expand, sometimes with tax credits, many times with infrastructure needs and enhanced bidding opportunities for city services and projects. We have in place opportunities for new and existing businesses, with the industrial park and downtown revitalization plans.
As a state, we must address Iowa’s tax structure, which burdens commercial and industrial properties with unreasonable property taxes and high income taxes. And finally, we need ensure needed infrastructure and technology is brought to Davenport. As our cable franchise expires next year, we should require significant enhancements in technology and fiber optics are offered to the community.
Mel Lower: The pay raise to aldermen needs to be repealed. We need to promote city services to gain more revenue, like the airport. We need to improve CitiBus so we can promote it better to gain more riders. It now costs us almost $2 million a year. I believe that by improving service we can get more ridership and reduce that amount. The amount that we save can be used on sewers.
Bob McGivern: Street repairs are funded largely by road-use tax (gasoline tax) and supplemented by the capital-improvement program (CIP) budget. Council can prioritize the CIP, as we have done these last two years, doubling the funding for streets. This year, we have funded street repair just over $4 million. My goal is to see city funding reach $7 million by 2005. I suggest no magic pill; the solutions require the council to prioritize the CIP, and/or increase funding to the CIP through transfers from the general fund.
Sewer projects outlined by the Stanley Report will be funded in various ways. First, the city is presently reviewing sewer rate fees paid by industrial, commercial, and residential users. These fees have not been reviewed or modified since the early ‘90s, and like any business or organization, revenue must reflect cost of service. I will not support a stormwater utility fee. Large-scale sewer projects have been outlined in the Stanley report, and I would support bonding additional monies for these projects. This would require the city to explain the purpose and outcome of such repairs, and citizens will understand how the additional tax monies are being spent.
Finally, my reply to Question 6 highlights my thoughts about reducing employment cost and shared services with other communities. If implemented, present revenues in the general fund might be available for transfer into the CIP for streets and sewers.
Mel Lower: Right now our city is growing out of control. We need to decide how we wish for our city to grow and stick with it. We need to control our urban sprawl.
Bob McGivern: The Comprehensive Land-Use Plan is the foundation for the planning process. Zoning decisions are guided by this plan, which is why the plan should be a living document. This document should continually guide the city for the short term (five years) and long term (15 years), and re-evaluate market trends, demand, and supply, as well as infrastructure needs or opportunities. In many communities, the Comprehensive Land-Use Plan is more important then zoning; thus it becomes a critical part of economic development and re-development.
Mel Lower: We need to find a way to contain its cost without reducing benefits.
Bob McGivern: We need to start looking at the expense side of the ledger and stop concentrating on new revenue sources. I believe we need to look at the merits of a two-tier insurance plan, which requires new employees to grow into the more expensive plan. We must be fiscally responsible, yet fair and reasonable to a very good group of city employees.
More important, we need to work with other local and county governments, seeking shared interest and services. Efficiencies of scale, and the ability to collaborate on some services should be identified and considered quickly.
Mel Lower: No.
Bob McGivern: I do not support a living-wage ordinance or mandate.
Mel Lower: No.
Bob McGivern: I stand by my vote against the ordinance change, as it exceeds the role of local government. However, revisiting this issue is not a priority, or the reason I am seeking re-election.
Mel Lower: Required point-of-sale inspections.
Bob McGivern: Inadequate enforcement of consumer protection laws and a lack of competitive financing alternatives in the central city are the problems.
Mel Lower: Sell the frontage property on 53rd Street and keep the rest of the land for a park with some amenities. (Editor’s note: The response to this question in our print edition was incorrect.)
Bob McGivern: With the six options, I would embrace keeping all land and develop a park with amenities. I am also aware of the city administrator’s thoughts of a planned development, and will consider his input.
Barney Barnhill: While you can’t force businesses to locate in a particular geographic area of a city, you can find ways to entice them. Tax breaks, forming a TIF area, and improving infrastructure to make an area more attractive are a few economic tools available. Making Locust four lanes to the interstate and bringing a sewer system to I-80 would also make the west end more desirable for development.
Barney Barnhill: Its main purpose is to be used in blighted areas to attempt to rejuvenate them. It can also be used to aid businesses to locate in a specific area to create jobs and broaden the tax base. The least common use is to create recreational/cultural amenities to enhance the quality of life of a community’s citizens. As an economic/financial tool, I would use it for the first two options when needed and the last option only when there is clear support for it by the public.
Barney Barnhill: We need to better market those assets that already exist: great educational system, low cost of living, central location near major municipalities, and an excellent skilled work force with a solid Midwest work ethic. Be more competitive on the Internet to market these qualities. Let companies know we also have an industrial park that is infrastructure-ready on a major interstate. We should also work with the other two entities – the county and school board – in concert to promote our assets so everyone benefits. Seek out on the Internet those companies that would be the best fit for our agricultural/manufacturing background and aggressively pursue them.
Barney Barnhill: With over 500 miles of city streets to repair and re-surface with a limited budget, we need to be honest with our citizens. Spending more than what is annually budgeted to the streets-resurfacing division would require taking it from another division within the Public Works department or from some other department’s funding source. An option is bonding for more money, but that places another form of indebtedness on the taxpayer. I don’t believe in cutting city services, which are struggling at the present time. Looking for state and federal dollars in the form of grant monies is important and looking at ways (cost-cutting) to get the biggest return from our manpower and materials through better management is important.
Barney Barnhill: It should play an important role in what uses we need to consider for both economic and recreational development of what probably is the most important natural resource we have. Preventing urban sprawl, protecting and adding green-space areas, and preserving our watershed should be our top priorities. Working with the county and school district in concert can help us to make better choices regarding smart growth. We should have a flexible plan that would allow us to deviate on a proven-need basis.
Barney Barnhill: Make it a “hands off” agency in which funds could not be shifted to some other department of government for some other project. Look at other areas of our city council where, by cost savings, we can shift some monies back into the Trust & Agency Fund. Begin to establish during the next budget session a “rainy day” fund to be added to each year so that eventually we would have extra monies to be used during difficult financial times. Stop frivolous spending such as a 40-percent pay raise and $2.7 million family aquatic center, and put these dollars to better use, such as the Trust & Agency Fund.
Barney Barnhill: No.
Barney Barnhill: No.
Barney Barnhill: Required point-of-sale inspections.
Barney Barnhill: Sell the frontage property on 53rd Street and keep the rest of the land for a park with some amenities.
Tom Engelmann: In regards to west Davenport, this city council approved the reconstruction of Locust Street from I-280 into town and also approved extending sanitary sewers to that area. We will have to continue to address sewer problems identified in the Stanley report as quickly as we can. Downtown should receive a boost from the River Renaissance project just approved. We need to continue working on downtown development.
Tom Engelmann: TIF is the creation of new property-tax base by investment of tax dollars to leverage more private investment. The tax increment is this new property-tax base, and therefore new property-tax dollars generated by the project. I believe our current criteria in relation to the creation of new jobs and increase in property-tax base is adequate. This council approve use of TIF for Sentry Insurance, which was the creation of about 90 new jobs at about $40,000 a year. I think we should not utilize TIF for retail jobs, with the exception of using TIF in a redevelopment plan in the central city.
Tom Engelmann: More emphasis on both the city’s and Dr. Guidici’s industrial parks. We need to promote the fact that we have available a wide variety of sizes of lots for new businesses.
Tom Engelmann: This city council has addressed a significant part of the infrastructure needs. We adopted the Stanley report on the sanitary-sewer system and incorporated the most pressing identified projects into our capital-improvement program. We have doubled the amount spent of street resurfacing and repairs. The one area we are still struggling with is the stormwater system. We do not currently have in place a means of financing stormwater projects. I believe that we need to explore all options to create the financing to pay for these projects. One possibility that should be explored is a stormwater utility (possibly like Moline’s) that would have those that create the problem paying the cost.
Tom Engelmann: The adopted Comprehensive Plan is a tool to guide development decisions by both the city and the private sector. Because it is a tool, it is by definition not something set in concrete that cannot be changed. But any major change needs to be done with a lot of discussion with affected parties and the general public.
Tom Engelmann: This city council has initiated discussions with the city’s unionized workforce on ways to save costs to the Trust & Agency Fund and have the employees assume some of the burden of the increase in costs. We have to continue this process before we look at the revenue side of the equation.
Tom Engelmann: No.
Tom Engelmann: No.
Tom Engelmann: Required point-of-sale inspections.
Tom Engelmann: Keep less than one-quarter of the land for some public use and, after development controls are in place, sell the remainder.
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