Bettendorf budget calls for hiring more police officers

4 The Record

Property tax rate steady while sewer fees rise

State and local governments made tough decisions on the fly in 2020 when the pandemic disrupted businesses and everyday life.

They cut programs and infrastructure spending to make ends meet.

Some are planning to get closer to normal in 2021.

Bettendorf is taking that approach in its current budget process.

The city council is considering a spending plan close to $120 million.

It would not raise the property tax rate.

However, property owners would see an increase in their sewer fees.

City leaders say the owner of a home worth about $250,000 would pay almost $64 a year more.

Bettendorf plans to adopt the budget by March 16.

Here are some other highlights in Bettendorf’s budget:

  • The city intends to hire three more police officers
  • After hiring six firefighters last year, Bettendorf could add six more if the city applies for a federal grant and it gets approved.
  • Investing $16 million on infrastructure and other improvements
  • Recreational upgrades to Palmer Hills Golf Course, Splash Landing and the Frozen Landing ice rink

Bettendorf city leaders have found a way to make things work during the pandemic — not without some tough choices along the way.

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher joined 4 The Record this week for a conversation.

Assuming the plan will essentially stay intact, Gallagher addressed how the city will be able to pull this budget off without raising property taxes and how much consideration was there to lower the property tax rate to offset the sewer fee increase.

Reduced business hours during the pandemic hurt local sales tax revenue, but now Iowa collects taxes from online sales.

Gallagher explained what that meant for Bettendorf and if it made up the difference.

This plan calls for hiring three new police officers.

The city’s found a way to pay for those jobs.

Gallagher discussed why the city needs to expand the force and if crime is getting worse.

Bettendorf hired six firefighters in recent months.

Now the city administrator would like to apply for a federal grant to hire six more.

Gallagher talked about how these firefighters would be utilized or assigned and if he expected the council to go along with it.

Watch the video above for the full conversation.

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