4 The Record

Frank Klipsch took advantage of mayor's conference to push Mississippi River commerce

Davenport's mayor says infrastructure was another priority

Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch is racking up the frequent flier miles lately.

He's pushing the interests of the Quad Cities in the nation's capital and abroad.

Klipsch took a trip to Bonn, Germany in November for the United Nations Climate Challenge Conference.

He was wearing his hat as the co-chair of the Mississippi River cities and towns initiative to promote involvement in the Paris Climate Accord, promote trade, promote water security and promoting the Mississippi River as a global economic partner.

Klipsch followed that up with a trip to Washington D.C. in late January for the winter meetings of the conference of mayors.

Crime, infrastructure, economic growth, immigration and just about every issue that impacts local governments is covered through some kind of workshop discussion.

Both trips certainly provided Mayor Klipsch the opportunity to project what the Quad Cities has to offer.

But, there's also a lot of listening and learning what's working in other cities that can be applied back home.

Klipsch has had some time to decompress from his travels and joins us for a conversation on 4 The Record.

Reading through the agenda of the mayor's conference, there were a lot of different sessions available.

Klipsch couldn't get to all of them, but he talked about the ones he attended and which ones were the most impactful economically in terms of ideas he wants to apply here.

"Infrastructure and the Mississippi River were our focus, so we concentrated our efforts there," Klipsch said. "A lot of discussions related to the fact that Iowa and the Mississippi River -- 70 percent of the corn, soybeans and wheat travel on the Mississippi -- so we looked at it from a transportation initiative, clean water initiative, as well as the infrastructure along the Mississippi as well as resiliency. So I focused my efforts there."

Every year this conference involves a meeting with the president at the White House. Some mayors boycotted this year.

"There was about 35 of us mayors in the room," Klipsch said. "It was a short speech by the president and then we basically met with advisors."

One thing President Trump campaigned on and brought up after the mayors conference in the State of the Union address is a push for infrastructure projects.

He suggests using $200 billion in federal money with states, cities and private enterprise putting up another $800 billion.

The mayors want federal money sent directly to cities, not the states.

How helpful would that be for the Quad Cities?

"The opportunity here is to get private investment to join," Klipsch said. "There's a large entity trying to put funds together to do private investment that would in fact be sustainable initiatives that would help with those infrastructure projects, especially along the riverfront."

We found out this week that Bettendorf is staring at a shortfall of more than a million dollars for the next budget year because the state lowered the city's expected share of sales tax revenue along with some other factors.

Klipsch said Davenport doesn't face a similar problem.

"We're looking at a 5 percent increase in tax base," Klipsch said. "We're looking at increasing our surplus, our cash reserve. ... So we're in very good financial shape and we're looking at, again, living within our means but having more means to live within."

Watch the full interview in the video above.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you. It's a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what's happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.


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