Eldridge voters to consider new city hall, police station

A special election Tuesday will decide the fate of a $4.6 million plan to build a new city hall and police station in Eldridge, Iowa.

Voters will decide whether the city can issue general obligation bonds to pay for roughly half of the project. Sales tax revenue would fund the rest.

If the referendum passes, crews plan to build a larger city hall and police station at a site the City has purchased off LeClaire Road. Studies show that city workers need a building nearly two-and-a-half times the size of their current, 7,200-sq. ft. facility.

“You walk in, and you’re right in people’s work spaces,” said City Administrator John Dowd of the current building. “It can get loud and crowded.”

The plan would also raise property taxes, though, by about $60 a year per $100,000 of assessed value.

“I think it’s a good plan, but I don’t think raising the property tax immediately is what’s going to solve the whole idea. I think it should be an incremental tax increase over the next five years,” said Eldridge resident Jared Davison.

Other voters said the town simply doesn’t need a new city hall.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Jon Ball. “We’ve got a building down there that’s falling apart, nobody takes care of this stuff. Why do we want to put up a new one?”

Some residents, though, agree with city leaders that Eldridge needs space to grow.

“It’s a growing community, and it has more needs in the way of community services, so it seems like it’d be money well-spent for the future,” said Brian Porter.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. More than 60 percent of voters must vote “yes” for the bond referendum to pass.