DAVENPORT: Still talking China

Kurt Allemeier

When he returned from a trip to China 10 days ago, Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba called his visit “a start” toward creating development ties between the city and the economic giant. Well, he’s not letting up.

Gluba received an email Monday from an executive from the Dayun Group. In translated and stilted English, the executive thanked the mayor for his visit to one of privately-owned Dayun’s plants while in China. The company makes trucks, motor bicycles and electric bicycles.

The mayor has a letter ready to send in response. It just needs translating into Mandarin. In the letter, Gluba touts Davenport’s manufacturing history and most importantly, extends an invitation to visit.

We’ll see what happens next.

SCOTT COUNTY: Minard files for re-election

Kurt Allemeier
Republican Larry Minard announced Friday he will seek re-election to the Scott County Board of Supervisors. He has served on the board since 2000.

Minard, 69, of Davenport, counts Scott County’s low per capita tax rate and helping to provide prescription discounts through a National Association of Counties (NACO) program as successes by the board during his tenure.

“As supervisor, I’ll work to maintain Scott County’s distinction of having one of the lower property tax rates per capita of the 99 counties in Iowa, and the lowest of the eight most populous counites,” he said in a press release. “It is the best tool we have to spur economic growth.”

He points out the prescription discount program has saved Scott County residents about $800,000.

A retired teacher, Minard served as a Davenport alderman for 10 years, and has served on several boards and commisssions and is a member of several community organizations.

He is the third person to file for the June 8 primary in Scott County, joining Bill Fennelly, a Republican who is seeking a fifth term as Treasurer and Brad Utter, a Republican, who is seeking a seat on the board of supervisors.

Democrat Jeff Liske has said he will seek re-election to the board of supervisors, but chairwoman Chris Gallin said she won’t run for re-election.

SCOTT COUNTY: Fennelly seeking re-election

Kurt Allemeier

Republican Bill Fennelly will seek his fifth term as Scott County Treasurer, he announced Monday, the first day of the candidate filing period for countywide races.

Fennelly served on the Scott County Board of Supervisors for 13 years prior to his election to Treasurer in 1994.

The only other candidate to fill for election in the Auditor’s office Monday was Republican Brad Utter who is seeking a seat on the Board of Supervisors.

SCOTT COUNTY: Election bills going out

Kurt Allemeier

The Scott County Auditor’s Office will soon be sending out bills totalling $148,266.62 to school boards and municipalities. The city of Davenport will get the biggest bill, $46,199.01, for the general election and the primary election in the 3rd Ward.

The bills for the school board elections are:

  • Davenport, $17,818.25
  • Bettendorf, $4,214.91
  • North Scott, $3,630.57
  • Pleasant Valley, $2,246.96
  • Eastern Iowa Community College, $28,146.69

The bills for the municipal elections, that also included a primary in Buffalo, are:

  • Bettendorf, $12,269.80
  • Blue Grass, $4,570.03
  • Buffalo, $9,050.66
  • Davenport, $46,199.01
  • Dixon, $1,244.18
  • Donahue, $,225.31
  • Eldridge, $2,314.06
  • LeClaire, $4,752.13
  • Long Grove, $1,390.58
  • Panorama Park, $344.30
  • Princeton, $1,290.01
  • Riverdale, $,282.63
  • Maysville, #354.45
  • McCausland, $1,223.16
  • New Liberty, $393.05
  • Walcott, $1,305.88

SCOTT COUNTY: Hunting and gathering

Kurt Allemeier

Part of the contract between the Public Professional and Maintenance Employees Local 2003 and Scott County includes a one-time-only holiday on Nov. 12.

The day gives workers in the county’s secondary roads department a four-day weekend.

“It is coming at a time when the employees want it because it comes after Veterans Day,” said Joe Rasmussen, business representative for the PPME. “Some are going hunting and some are doing fieldwork before things get busy.

The Board of Supervisors will vote on the contract at its Thursday meeting.

SCOTT COUNTY: Sheriff goes bargain shopping

Kurt Allemeier

It is that time of year to replace squad cars and the Scott County Sheriff’s Department went out for bid for six new Ford Crown Victorias. The low bid of $25,610 came in from Reynolds Ford of East Moline, but one of the bidding dealerships offered a bargain.

Stivers Ford, of Waukee, had four 2009 Crown Vic models still available for $22,616 each. The savings is nearly $3,000 per unit, but even with slightly higher costs for wiring of aftermarket equipment, a savings of $6,000-$10,000 total.

The sheriff department wouuld also purchase two Crown Vics from Reynolds Ford. Sheriff Dennis Conard budgeted $150,000 for squad car replacements. The recommendation to the county board was $141,554.

Clinton County: Election Day, Part 2

By Steven Martens

Voters in Clinton and Low Moor will head to the polls again Tuesday for run-off elections in City Council races.
In Clinton, incumbent council member Ron Mallicoat, At Large, is being challenged by newcomer Charlie Mulholland.
Voters in Clinton already have elected three new faces to the City Council. In November, Jennifer Graf was elected to one of two At Large seats up for election, and Bev Hermann and Maggie Klaes were elected over incumbents Darrell Smith and Bob Soesbe, respectively.
Mallicoat and Mulholland were the top two vote-getters among the other four At Large candidates, but neither received enough votes to win the seat.
In Low Moor, Karl Greve and Robin Marlowe were the top two vote-getters as write-in candidates for an At Large council spot in the November election, and are vying for the spot in Tuesday’s run-off. If the vote ends in a tie, the winner will be selected by drawing a name from a hat.

CLINTON: Attention to detail of Sunshine Law

By Steven Martens

The start of a special city council meeting in Clinton was delayed Friday morning by an effort to comply with Iowa’s open meetings, or “sunshine” law.

After Mayor Rodger Holm called the 11 a.m. meeting to order, council member Mike Kearney, 2nd Ward, spoke up and said the notice of the special meeting had not been e-mailed to council members and the public until 11:11 a.m. on Thursday. Iowa’s open meetings law requires that the public be notified of council meetings at least 24 hours in advance.

So Holm adjourned the meeting, and everyone in the council chambers sat and waited for about five more minutes until 11:11 a.m., when the meeting was opened a second time, including a second recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

I don’t know when Mike Kearney received his notice, but the e-mail notification about the meeting I received, which was sent as part of a group e-mail  sent to council members, city department heads and other members of the news media, was received in my inbox at 10:12 a.m. on Thursday.

SCOTT COUNTY: Going even greener

Kurt Allemeier

From tune-ups to using outdoor LED lights to turning down the thermostat two degrees in the winter, the Scott County Board of Supervisors heard several ways to go even greener.

Earlier this year, the county, that has a “green team” to consider implementing environmental practices, purchased the first two hybrids to its vehicle fleet.

During a recent committee of the whole meeting, Dave Donovan, director of facility and support services, ran down a checklist of environmental practices provided as part of the Bi-State Regional Commission’s Clean Air Partnership.

Donovan told the board the county is within the acceptable air quality standards, but only barely, so that every little bit helps.

Many of the practices were already in place, Donovan said, adding that others weren’t practical. Here are the practices the board is considering implementing:

  • Tune up vehicles every 5,000-10,000 miles, adjust brakes and check tire pressure regularly.
  • Practice “right size vehicle” policy of the proper vehicle for the task for which it’s needed.
  • Avoid quick starts, excessive idling and maintain a constant speed over the course of a trip.
  • Implement anti-idling policy.
  • Offer telecommuting and teleconferencing, especially for out-of-county meetings.
  • Encourage carpooling with preferential parking spaces. Donovan said this will be implemented at the new consolidated dispatching center and could be added at the county’s downtown campus.
  • Encourage biking and walking to work by providing showers and secure bike racks. Donovan told the board bike racks are available and that showers could be made available to employees.
  • Offer employee education on smart driving techniques.
  • Use LED outdoor lighting.
  • Use Energy Star and energy efficient equipment.
  • Set thermostat two degrees warmer in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter. Use timers to turn down heat/air conditioning in the evenings and on weekends. This practice spurred the most discussion from board members who said it is hard to please everyone by doing adusting the thermostat.
  • Use low energy mode or shut off electronics when not in use.
  • Invest in alternative energy or implement building-level alternative energy. The new dispatching center will have a geothermal heating/air conditioning system.
  • Implement a recycling program that incorporates paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and metal. The county already recycles some of these items.
  • Reduce mowing times by using native landscaping.
  • Purchase non-toxic and water-based office supplies.
  • Buy recycled products and choose products with recycled/recyclable packaging.
  • Buy products from environmentally responsible companies.
  • Use and advocate alternative transportation.
  • Reduce energy usage.

How many of these are you doing at home?

CLINTON: Marina restaurant update

The ad hoc committee formed in August to find an operator for the Clinton marina restaurant will present information about a potential candidate during Tuesday’s Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. The meeting will immediately follow the City Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The identity of the potential candidate has not been revealed, but the committee will ask council members to place the issue on the agenda for a regular Council meeting to begin negotiating a lease agreement.

The restaurant, which has room to seat 200 people inside and another 100 people on a deck that overlooks the new Clinton marina and the Mississippi River, remained unopened all summer as city officials worked to find an operator for the restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is not finished because city officials wanted to let the restaurant operator make decisions about the interior design.

Jim Golinvaux, who has 45 years of restaurant experience and served as an advisor to the committee, told council members in August it would take nine to 11 months to get the restaurant opened once an operator had been chosen.