EM aldermen vote to retain dispatching partnership with Moline - Quad-Cities Online: Local

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EM aldermen vote to retain dispatching partnership with Moline

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Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012 11:12 pm | Updated: 3:14 pm, Tue Apr 29, 2014.

EAST MOLINE -- Aldermen meeting as a committee of the whole have voted to retain a partnership with Moline and have emergency calls handled through a joint center.

Since 1999, dispatching services have been shared with Moline, according to East Moline Police Victor Moreno's report to aldermen earlier this year.

On Monday night, aldermen voted 5-2 to retain the partnership. Alds. Helen Heiland, 1st Ward, and Ed DeJaynes, 4th Ward, voting against the measure which still must be addressed at a city council meeting.

Maintaining the partnership means East Moline will pay about $125,846 toward a $314,617 equipment upgrade for the center. East Moline's portion would be spread out over several years.

Aldermen also considered East Moline handling emergency dispatching on its own, which would cost about $400,000 according to Chief Moreno. They also considered partnering with Milan or Silvis, each which would cost the city about $240,000.

Ald. Heiland's motion to move dispatching services back to the city was defeated 3-4 with Alds. Gary Almblade, 2nd Ward; Dave Kelley, 5th Ward; Bob Cheffer, 6th Ward; and Gary Westbrook, 7th Ward, voting against it.

Chief Moreno said Rock Island County is using a $150,000 federal grant to study a centralized county-wide dispatching system similar to one adopted by Scott County fire and police authorities.

Ald. Kelley initially suggested delaying a decision until that study was complete, but Mayor John Thodos and city administrator Cole O'Donnell said the existing equipment was more than a decade old and delays would increase the potential of equipment failure.

City staff needed to know what kind of equipment to buy, they said, which would be determined by the option aldermen chose. Ending its partnership with Moline would require a year's notice, it was noted.

Aldermen on Monday also approved a proposed $31.8 million capital improvement plan that includes scores of potential projects for 2013 through 2017. They include a new water tower and new radios and other equipment for police and firefighters.

Ald. Kelley voted "present" on the plan, with the other aldermen voting for it.

Mr. O'Donnell addressed two concerns by aldermen after being presented with the plan: A lack of input from the East Moline Park Board, and an apparent lack of cohesion between the needs of the capital improvement plan and the overall strategic plan being built by the city.

The missing park board input was an oversight on his part that will be rectified in future editions of the plan, Mr. O'Donnell said. He also saidthe strategic plan is not yet complete and that needs from its final form could be incorporated into the capital improvement plan at a later date

Adopting the capital improvement plan must still be discussed at a city council meeting.The next meeting where that action could occur is scheduled for Dec. 17.

Aldermen on Monday night also approved spending $63,777 to buy a dump truck for maintenance services. Ald. Kelley cast the lone dissenting vote in the 6-1 decision.

Council discussions included money the city is paying back to two of its tax-increment financing districts -- Kennedy Drive and Great River Industrial Park -- after it was determined funds were spent inappropriately.About $550,000 was used to pay business-development obligations that should have been paid from sales tax receipts.

In 2011, city finance director Megan Petersen said the money would have to come from the city's general fund, into which sales tax receipts are deposited. About $50,000 was paid to Tempo Marine & Sport and $500,000 was paid to Jewel Food Stores Inc.

The sales tax money that should have been used stayed in the general fund and was used for operational expenses.

So far, the city has been using property sales to reimburse the TIFs, with the Great River TIF completely reimbursed, Ms. Petersen said. The Kennedy Drive TIF has received about $190,517 and still is owed $313,483.

From this point, the debt will be paid with whatever general funds can be made available, she said. There is no deadline for reimbursing the two districts

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