The Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. announced Tuesday (12/3) it posted a 20 cents per share profit in the second quarter ended October 27, and in remarks to financial analysts company executives talked about moving its riverboat casino operation in Bettendorf into a land-based facility.
The Isle is in the process of selling its Rhythm City Casino in Davenport to Dan Kehl, president of Scott County Casino LLC, which plans to build a $110-million casino/hotel and entertainment facility along I-80 in Davenport. The Isle has agreed in principal to sell the Rhythm City to Kehl for $51 million.
Last month not only resulted in Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, but some financial leftovers from Bettendorf's fiscal 2012-13 budget year which ended June 30.
City Finance Director Carol Barnes walked the city council through the year-end financials at its November meeting and a few items deserve a second look to compare the "hoped for" of last year's budget projections and the cold reality of the end-of-year numbers.
• Despite five years' of significant gambling revenue declines, last year's budget projected an increase in gambling dollars for city coffers. That turned out to be a bad bet.
Gambling revenues have fallen more than 30 percent since 2004 when the city's cut from the riverboat gambling hit a high of $2.27 million. The fall off also is noteworthy because it came despite added hotels rooms (to attract out-of-town gamblers) and the addition of a city financed entertainment facility (QC Waterfront Convention Center) that was seen as a way to attract more tourists to boost gambling revenues.
by Thomas Raphael-Nakos on November 22, 2013 - 15:55
After viewing the National Geographic movie Jerusalem at the Putnam IMAX Theater recently, I came away wondering, like Rodney King during the 1992 Los Angeles race riots, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
The movie provides a tour of the “Holy City” through the eyes of three young women – one Jewish, one Muslim and one a Greek Orthodox Christian.
The city itself is at least 3,000 years and was built on a mountain halfway between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. On that mountain, there exists a rock outcropping, and when the Bronze Age Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe resided there, they worshipped Shalim, the God of the Evening. Dusk is the time of rest and peace and many scholars believe it is from the worship of "Shalim" that Jerusalem derived its name.
Despite environmentalists' calls for a faster schedule to lower fine particulate pollution in Muscatine, the latest Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) draft implementation plan would not require such emissions be within federal air quality standards until 2017.
At issue is the speed at which Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) – which currently emits 538 tons of particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM 2.5) annually – would be required to put in place dozens of pollution control improvements the firm has begun, but is not expected to complete until December 2016.
Quad City Times owner Lee Enterprises recorded a $171-million accounting charge to reflect the falling value of its business during the fourth quarter, turning a 25 cents per share gain into a $1.71 per share loss, according to financials released Monday (11/11) by the Davenport-based firm.
For the fourth quarter ended September 29, the company reported a net loss of $88.7 million, compared with a net loss of $7.7 million, or 15 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.
For the fiscal year ended September 29, Lee reported a loss of $78 million, 1.51 per share, compared with a $16.7 million loss, 34 cents per share, during fiscal 2012.
The large "non-cash impairment charge" more than offset what the company said would have been a 25 cent per share, $13.2 million, gain for the quarter.
Responding to calls by politicians and rural telecom lobbyists to give rural customers in Iowa and the nation equal access to high-speed Internet service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rolled out its Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) in 2010 and funded it with more than $3 billion in federal stimulus money.
More than $118 million was awarded in grants and loans to create jobs and to extend broadband* service to rural Iowans.
One of those grants was a $12.2-million award to Windstream (formerly Iowa Telecom) to install nearly 500 miles of fiber optic cable that would upgrade company services to customers in Dallas County, west of Des Moines. In its grant application, Windstream said the project would enable the company to boost broadband speeds from 3 megabytes per second (MBps) to 15 MBps and benefit "approximately 9,293 people" and "roughly 14,291 businesses." The company said the improvements would "provide a foundation for economic growth and job creation for decades to come."
Company official last month said the project is nearly complete and to date 500 new broadband customers have been added.
That's an investment of more than $32,000 per customer based on the $12.2 million to be spent by the USDA program, plus $4.1 million in matching funds from Windsteam.
In Bettendorf, Gary Mohr defeated Chad Miller (1,098 votes to 384 votes) for the alderman at-large seat being vacated by Tim Stecker. In the voting for two seats on the Bettendorf Park Board, incumbent Larry Makoben and newcomer Steven Wilger were elected to four-year terms.
In LeClaire, incumbent Mayor Robert Scannell defeated council member Judy Hartig, 533 to 444.
Bettendorf alderman at-large candidate Gary Mohr has raised nearly $10,000 to fund his campaign, while his opponent in next Tuesday's election (11/5) apparently has spent less than the $750 threshold for filing financial reports with the state.
Mohr, of 4755 School House Road, and Chad Miller, of 4340 Tanglewood Road, are seeking to fill the aldermanic seat now held by Tim Stecker, who announced in September he would not seek another 4-year term on the city council.
Well, that was certainly worth 24 billion bucks, don’t you think? I mean the entertainment value of Sen. Ted Cruz’s faux filibuster alone was worth a couple billion or so.
And House Speaker John Boehner’s face when he would come out during the 16-day-long government shutdown and accuse President Barack Obama of being uncooperative? Priceless. The Ohio Republican is the greatest deadpan comedian we’ve had since Buster Keaton.
But the best thing about getting the lights back on is that we can look forward to another episode of this tragicomedy again in a couple of months or so. The deal that averted a collision with the debt ceiling and ended the shutdown is only temporary. The government is funded only through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling may need another boost just three weeks later.
The Bettendorf Park Board set a public hearing to get citizen feedback on leasing part of Crow Creek Park to a private dekhockey operation even though the lease had not been finalized and basic terms of the agreement were not known.
And, with negotiations on the lease now in limbo, terms of the lease won't even be known prior to the scheduled public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday (10/24).
Editor's Note: The public hearing on the new dekhockey lease was cancelled. A new date has not been set.
City Administrator Decker Ploehn urged the park board at last week's meeting to fast-track the lease approval so the city could begin building a second rink for use by QC Dekhockey, Inc., a private operation which has been using park property rent-free for the past year.
The city would pay for removal of trees, construction of a new base for a second dekhockey rink, lighting and additional parking. Cost of the work is estimated at $50,000. That expense would be in addition to the $12,000 the city spent last year to erect lights and convert the existing basketball courts at Crow Creek Park for the first dekhockey rink.
The recently hired director of the Bettendorf Family Museum resigned from the job effective Oct. 11 after less than two months at the post.
Margaret Kuhl, who previously was director of the Felix Adler Children’s Discovery Center in Clinton, cited the need to devote time and attention to her family in her letter of resignation.
Kuhl, who was hired in late August at a salary of $62,250, replaced Tracy Kuehl, who retired at the end of 2011. Jeff Reiter, the Family Museum's business community relations manager, and Kim Kidwell, manager of learning experiences, served as co-directors until Kuhl was hired.
Bettendorf is planning a second traffic roundabout – at the intersection of Middle and Crow Creek Roads – more than a decade after the city's initial roundabout at Middle and 53rd Avenue was installed amid howls from drivers puzzled by the region's first major intersection without stop signs or signal lights.
Complaints about the first roundabout have diminished over the years as motorists have learned how to navigate around the roundabout. However, even in recent years there have been calls to replace the roundabout with a traditional signalized intersection.
It wasn't lost on Pleasant Valley School Superintendent Jim Spelhaug that the comfortable chair and well-appointed LeClaire City Council Chambers were paid for primarily by school district taxpayers.
And, it wasn't lost on LeClaire Mayor Robert Scannell that Spelhaug and one other school district official were the only taxpayers at the council meeting to question the city's continued use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to pay for a growing array of municipal amenities.
Spelhaug's appearance before the council Monday (10/7) was to strenuously object to the continued use of a "layered" TIF by the city, a practice which has helped the city build a new library, city hall and sewage treatment system improvements.
Thanks to the TIF established nearly 20 years ago, the city has been able to funnel property taxes levied by the school district and Scott County into city coffers for use as rebates to developers or to pay for city capital improvements.
As we're now three months into the city of Bettendorf's 2013-14 fiscal year, it's time to turn our attention to what city leaders – the mayor, council and city administrator – plan to work toward over the remaining nine months.
Here is the "top priorty" list which emerged from several meetings in March/April or thereabouts (the public wasn't invited to participate and the press didn't attend):
Labor negotiations and contracts (direction)
Comprehensive plan and strategy for economic development
When workers in Iowa City damaged a sanitary sewer pumping station in July, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) distributed a news release state-wide detailing the resulting 30,000-gallon sewage spill into a local creek and posted details about the incident on its web site.
When the city of Bettendorf pumped an estimated 5 million gallons of raw sewage – diluted with another 3.3 million gallons of rainwater – into the Mississippi River March 10, the IDNR did not notify the media or anyone else about the discharge despite the amount of untreated sewage being exponentially larger than the Iowa City spill.
So why does the IDNR make a public announcement about a 30,000-gallon sewage spill in one community and not provide the same information about a discharge nearly 200 times as large?
The primary reason, according to IDNR officials, is the Bettendorf discharge was diluted with rainwater – which had seeped into sewer lines – likely keeping the level of pollutants below the maximum allowed by the city's discharge permit.