Originally Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2012, 9:44 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 12, 2012, 7:31 am

Meredith resigns from Moline council

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

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Moline Ald. Richard Meredith, 2nd Ward, resigned at Tuesday's city council meeting.

MOLINE -- His seat is up for election. But instead of announcing a bid for a second term, Ald. Richard Meredith, 2nd Ward, resigned at Tuesday's city council meeting.

He surprised the council with his announcement, a move necessary, he said, because he will be leaving his ward. Elected in November 2008 and seated in May 2009, Ald. Meredith did not say where he was moving.

"In preparation for this move, my available time will be very limited and my focus geared toward a new transition and a new location," he said. "I would like to express how truly honored I have been to be a representative in my hometown as alderman of the second ward for the city of Moline.

"You are all strong council members," he told aldermen. "God bless and good luck."

Ald. Meredith also resigned Tuesday from the Rock Island County Animal Care and Control facility board, the Project Management Team and the Communications board. Moline Mayor Don Welvaert said he learned of Ald. Meredith's council resignation only when it was announced.

"We are going to miss you," the mayor said. "Good luck in your new endeavor."

Mayor Welvaert said he will begin to consider what to do with the vacated seat. Appointing someone to the seat could give him or her an unfair advantage in the upcoming election, he said. It also could be perceived as his endorsement of that person, Mayor Welvaert said.

"We are coming up on an election cycle, but we also have eight months to go," he said. "My gut reaction is to find and appoint someone who does not intend to seek the office."

In other business, economic development manager Pat Burke reviewed the city's seven current Tax Increment Finance districts. Moline also is in the process of creating three more, he said.

When a TIF is created, the assessed value of the land in the district is frozen. New development is meant to increase the assessed value. Any new tax increment from the new development goes directly, and only, to the city until the TIF expires. Moline uses the increment to make improvements within the district or to give rebates to developers.

His comments on each existing TIF district through December 2011 included:

-- The deficit in TIF 1, which encompasses most of the downtown, has more than tripled since 2007 to $8 million last year, according to Mr. Burke. Debt service is the biggest expense, he said, with the equalized assessed value growing from $27.1 million in 1986 to $49.9 million last year.

-- TIF 2, which includes the One Moline Place residential development, has a deficit of $3.2 million, Mr. Burke said. Most of the deficit is due to bonds, he said, with debt service exceeding the property tax revenue generated. "This has been a troubled TIF over the past 12 years," but that trend is changing, he said. "It is our belief this TIF will not be in deficit when it expires."

-- TIF 6, which encompasses land the city owns adjacent to and near the One Moline Place development, has a $35,212 deficit, Mr. Burke said. He noted the city is working with a developer on the property.

-- TIF 3, created to help with the renovation of the former Moline High School into 60 loft apartments, ended 2011 with a positive fund balance, as did three others: Autumn Trails, KONE Centre and the business park behind the Quad City International Airport.

In other business, a proposed property tax rebate program for single-family homes at least 50 years old died for lack of a motion by aldermen. The rebate, proposed by the Moline Historic Preservation Commission, could be no more than $5,000 over a five-year period. The taxes would be rebated after the homeowner made a minimum of $20,000 in interior or exterior improvements.

Moline currently has a property tax rebate program for residents who buy a newly built home in the city.




Cox promoted to sergaent

The Moline City Council opened its meeting Tuesday with the promotion of Kevin Cox to the rank of police sergeant. 

Sgt. Cox, 50, has served the Moline Police Department for 13 years in various positions, including Community Oriented Policing officer at SouthPark Mall, a DARE officer and, most recently, a juvenile investigator. 

"It was a hard decision to make," he said. "I love being in investigations and working with kids. However, as a supervisor with the Moline Police Department, I will get to help mentor newer officers."  

Sgt. Cox said he has quite a bit of experience to share. He said he followed his father -- a Rock Island County deputy for more than 20 years -- into law enforcement. 

"I saw what he did and how he did it," Sgt. Cox said. "I watched how he interacted with the public and how they reacted to him. It is something I always wanted to do." 

Before joining Moline Police, Sgt. Cox served 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. and was a police officer in Bellevue, Neb., for three years.