I attended the All Ward meeting last night at the Fairmount Library and figured I would post the information since not many attended.
There were about ten citizens there and several city employees. Aldermen Frink and Meyer, Chief Bladel and three others from the DPD.
The first subject, of course, was the cameras and current litigation. There were at least a couple supporters of the program and more vocal opposition. It was clear that Cheif Bladel wanted to move on quickly as this will be in litigation at the courts for the next 12-18 months. It's still pretty clear to me that this will be a subject of much discussion even while it goes to the Iowa Supreme court.
The next hour or so focused on crime, NETS, juvenile offenders and how the city plans to take a proactive position in improving our city. The city is proposing adding 1 sergeant and 1 social worker to the Juvenile division and 3 more personnel to the NETS program. Chief Bladel reported that some 28% of total arrests last year were juveniles, and a lot of them were repeat offenders. There needs to be more cooperation from the courts and follow up from the juvenile system to make sure these individuals get back in line or are incarcerated.
The Davenport City budget was discussed next. A lot of information in just the 30 minutes or so that were left in the meeting. I'll give a couple highlights, but you should go to the city web site to get more detailed and accurate information. They need to ratify the budget by March 15th so, if you want to weigh in, pay close attention to the meeting dates that will be announced soon.
The total budget for FY 2007 will be about $130 million. Most changes that were discussed were pretty straight forward and mostly focused on the changes in the DPD and NETS to combat crime. There is a proposal to possibly raise the rates for water consumption to save for the sewer expansion in West Davenport around 2009. The proposed rates haven't been raised for the last 15 years and the estimates given were an increase of about $1.33 per homeowner and $11 per business with high end water users much higher than that.
There was no discussion of The Freight House or other economic development. The meeting, at an hour and a half, was too short to cover more than what was already outlined.
In all Alderman Frink did a good job facilitating the meeting, Alderman Meyer pitched in some good information and Chief Bladel was full of information and statistics that show our priorities are in the right place, fighting crime. The debate on this might be centered around the strategy or the execution. Time will tell.