Burlington Derailed ó The Continuing Story

20 February

Big Muddy's Will Feed You

Big Muddy's Comes Forward to Feed the Huddled Masses

In answer to the problem with reservations at Martini's, Big Muddy's will take any size reservation according to their ads.

Finally, someone cares about customer service. And don't forget the Mud Pie.
19:42:04 - SPIKE - No comments

19 February

Demand for City Wage Freeze Until Jobs Grow

6:49 pm
chaostempe4 writes:

hey spike, I say freeze all of the wages of the city workers, union and non-union. Too long have they enjoyed having job security coming on the heels of the burlington taxpayer.

When burlington starts showing some growth, as in good paying jobs, and not housing developments, then maybe some raises would be in order. Besides any city workers raise comes out of evereyone elses paycheck.
19:17:00 - SPIKE - No comments

15 February

Hawk-Eye Wants Professional Help

Usual Paper Bias - No Clue In Main Street News Tank

The local newspaper professes Des Moines County residents would be better served with a professional administrator. Just like Burlington with their City Manager.

Let's see here - Burlington is experiencing a $1,000,000 budget deficit with a so-called "professional" manager.

Des Moines County appears ready to approve a budget with no increase in taxes and no budget deficit.

Looks like the citizens of Des Moines County are getting a lot better deal than the citizens of Burlington. Without a trained professional. I guess the newspaper doesn't read their own headlines.
18:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Second Thoughts

Senator King Wants Pay Freeze for Non-Union Employees

Garbage Tags Might Go Up 50Ę

Maybe the Senator was right. We need to freeze pay increases for the non-union city employees.

For everyone that makes more than $35,000 a year. That might just save some money.

It won't happen. Election year. Not going to rock the boat in election year. The Senator and the Mayor won't chance it. Besides, if you up the garbage tags 50Ę then you only need to sell 2,000,000 tags to fix the budget deficit.

The Senator thinks a portion of this 50Ę increase is going to be earmarked for a new sewer department truck. Why do we need to buy a new truck? Has anyone ever heard of leasing equipment like this? Municipal equipment leases are very common.

Monkeys. Lots of monkeys.

17:29:03 - SPIKE - No comments

14 February

Monkeys, The City Is Being Run By Monkeys

Mayor Mike Edwards Supports Raises for City Staff

Senator King Says Freeze Non-Union Employee Wages

Slagle & Worden Say No Heat for the Fire Station

The Burlington brain trust is still holding regular meetings about reducing the City's budget. The underlying issue of profound incompetence at all levels is just amazing. Not much thought is being generated. Carpet static is more potent.

Mayor Edwards says that City Manager Bruce Slagle needs his raise because he is raising a family. What about everybody else raising a family? Or the retirees that have raised their families and contributed to this city longer than most of the brain trust have been alive. Too much cronyism and the total lack of management skills.

Senator King wants to freeze the pay for non-union city employees. I guess their votes count less than the other 200+ city employees. And since this is election year for the Senator, he doesn't need any negatives that could affect 200+ votes. So let's pick on the non-union city employees. The very people that can't afford a pay freeze. I guess the large number of friends that the Senator claims to have within city employment are all union members.

City Manager Slagle and his mini-me Vice Admiral Doug Worden say no sidewalk repair, no new furnace for the Summer Street fire station and no city survey (like they care). Those ideas offer real substantial cost savings. Slagle and mini-me would be better off selling extra garbage tags at a Bee's game.

Campbell and Baker concerns aren't even heard.

Bill Ell had no comment. Does that guy even have an opinion?

Monkeys. Every monkey seen in the Superbowl ads can be found at Burlington City Hall. And theyíre running the City. And they're all looking for the taxpayer's bananas.

16:51:07 - SPIKE - No comments

09 February

Will Somebody Please Feed These People

Sounds Like We Need Nordstrom Customer Service to Straighten Everyone Out

SF writes:

LT, we feel your pain.

Remember that Sienfeld episode, where they can take the reservation, but canít keep the reservation? This is our dining experience.

We called and booked a reservation with Kim Harmon (the food guruís wife). She said they can seat 12 by putting a few tables together and making a long table, but only at 5:30 or 8:00, and no more than 12 people. We opted for the 5:30 (we were having dinner with family from out of town) Kim said we were the only party on the books.

Arrived on time, the hostess went to seat us (Kim disappeared) 8 at one table, 4 at another, when we questioned this, and questioned why the long table all ready had a party of 16 seated at it, the response was, they made a reservation before you. We asked for Kim, were told she was unavailable, and there is nothing we could do. No apology from the hostess (just a bad attitude), no visit or apology from Kim, no visit from the guru, no complimentary drink Ė NOTHING.

What a unique dining experience!

I hope the party of 16 people they booted us for keeps coming back, I know we wonít be.

It will be tough to make money when you do/donít take reservations, and canít keep the reservations you do take.

Should have gone to the Sombrero

Bon Appeitit!

The cheeseburgers are better at the Sombrero and parking is never a problem.
14:02:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Spike Rocks

Thank-you Hawk Eye

Take Your Cans and Shove 'Em, I Ain't Shopping Here No More.....

ML writes:

First of all, I would love to thank the Hawkeye for making us all aware of your site, Spike. I had never heard of it until then, so my guess was that they wanted us all to know it was here. The search to find out who you were was better than watching General Hospital, the drama!! I must say though, this is the first place I go in the morning, BEFORE the morning paper!! There have been soooooooo many times in the past that I would of loved to send a letter to the editor, and not have to sign my name. Not because I am a coward, but mostly because of my family and friends that it may effect.

I sure do agree with "LT" no place to eat a romantic dinner for two around here, unless you want to wait in line. Make reservations for 7, and then after you are there, tell them the other 5 could not make it? Run a add in the paper....3 other couples wanted for a romantic dinner!! May as well go to McDonald's, they will have a seat for you!

I just read in today paper about our HyVee stores along with Fareway not accepting cans anymore? What a crock! You all sure made money selling those cans to us, not to mention all the food that was in that cart when we checked out. The new redemption center is great, if you are young, and can fight the door, to get in the building. But there are no carts, won't be easy for the elderly, and impossible for someone that is handicapped. The redemption center should start selling pop, and take away that business from the stores. After all, they are the only ones good enough to take your cans.

Sounds like HyVee and Fareway stores really don't care about our elderly? Have you ever watched to see how many older people using canes, or the motorized carts or walkers in your store? Do you really care they are spending THEIR money in your stores? I watched HyVee on Angular be remodeled, and they did a poor job, they could of had a better service area, and could of made a better area for accepting cans.

At that store they didn't even put in windows so that they could see the employees outside loading grocery's into your car, how safe is that? But hey, driving up for your grocery's is almost a thing of the past at the Angular HyVee. They look at you funny when you want to drive up, and most of the time you have to ask!

Hey, we can all go across the river and buy our cans! Then we can throw them in the ditches of the county, and give our county workers something to do, as they sure don't spend any time working on the roads, or anything else for that matter!!

How about dumping them all in the parking lots of Fareway and HyVee!! That would be priceless. It gets my vote!! Well, keep up the great work Spike, and all others writing in. It feels good to voice your opinion, and was a great start to my day!

10:39:00 - SPIKE - No comments

08 February

Feed Me

Here, Let Me Give You My Money

"Sorry, Reservations for 7 or More"

3:50 pm
LT writes:

You see it all the time in the ads in the paper and such, come have a romantic dinner at our place. Nice. But when you try to call and get reservations for two, you get the same thing all over town. "sorry we only make reservations for party of seven or more". A lot of damn good that does. I do not want to risk having to stand in freaking line for an hour or more with my wife to sit down and have a romantic dinner. What gives? Are the Drake and Martini's so damn money hungry that they aren't allowing reservations for couples. As far as I'm concerned they can take their damn business and you know what!!!

I didn't know there were 7 people left in Burlington that had money that would sit down and eat together. So much for customer service!

While you're standing in line they're making their best profit margins with the bar tab.
16:01:55 - SPIKE - No comments

06 February

Spike Has Mail

12:40 pm
NJ writes:

Go Corn Furnaces INC.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And anyone else who can afford to invest in Burlington, W.Burlington.
Best of luck, I know I WILL support you with my business.
12:40:00 - SPIKE - No comments

05 February

Ethanol Plant Producing "Phenomenal Profits Now"

Unexpected Profits Brighten Ethanol Plant's Ability to Pay Taxes

Expansion In ILLINOIS a Possibility

"(The plant) is producing phenomenal profits now," Defenbaugh said. "Now is the time to build those strengths."

From an article in the Galesburg Register-Mail Friday, the West Burlington ethanol plant is producing a huge profit.

The $57 Million dollar plant is expected to generate $63 Million in revenue for it's first year of operation and a 10% return to investors. 10% for 9 months of operation. That's 13.33% rate on investment. For a start-up company.

And, they want to double their current ethanol production even though they aren't capturing $1 million dollars in carbon dioxide they produce as a by-product.

I guess the ethanol plant shouldn't have any problems with signing the development agreement with Des Moines County. Afterall, Defenbaugh said they wanted to do what is right. They didn't want a "free ride."

If they can afford to let $1 MILLION dollars slip away, they must have plenty of money.
15:37:39 - SPIKE - No comments

New Company?

10:27 pm
JF writes:

Don't worry, NJ, Fred and Tommy Corn Furnaces, Inc. is coming soon.

12:38:47 - SPIKE - No comments

04 February

Burlingtonís Budget Deficit

Has the City Staff Lost Scope? And I Donít Mean Their Mouthwash!!!

3,950,000 More Garbage Tags Need to be Sold, Soon

When itís time for an audit, auditors are expected to maintain ďscope.Ē $5,000 expenditures WERE relevant as seen with the MCI financial debacle. Have enough of anything, including $4,999 expenditures, it becomes relevant. To the point of absurdity, chaos and misdirection.

But garbage tags? One thought provoking solution to Burlingtonís $1,000,000 budget deficit was to increase garbage tags fees from $1.25 to $1.50.

If Burlington would sell 50,000 garbage tags a year, they would gain $12,500 in new revenue. Youíre still $987,500 short on the budget. So you only have to sell 3,950,000 more garbage tags to make up this deficit.

The City has lost all scope of the problems. Running for the pennies, they missed the dollars. These problems need to be fixed with the accountability axe. A big one. Right from the top. Soon.
05:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

03 February

How Do You Not See a 1 mill Deficit Coming?

Think Big

NJ writes:
How Do You Not See a 1 mill Deficit Coming?

The same way you donít see West Burlington surround you so you canít expand. The same way you watch West Burlington entice your major businesses into moving. And the same way you eventually end up being absorbed by same because your city is dead.

What about creating a Burlington name brand that manufactures here. $1 million might even have gotten one going. Burlington needs their city officials to be dedicating 18 hours a day and 100% focus to rehabbing and finding an answer. Or soon, we will all live in West Burlington.

Feel free to edit this next paragraph, please try to keep the spirit of the idea though.

if I remember correctly, Burlington just got an award for being such a wonderful place to live. Which is wonderful. But it doesnít pay bills, it doesnít feed people, it doesnít raise the pay of anyone here.

Those are the kind of answers we need. Entrepreneurship should be encouraged. But let me say this. We have enough car repair places, hair stylists, home computer repair places and small privately owned neighborhood shops.

Someone needs to be willing to back someone with a greater plan in mind like a larger production facility. That is what I mean when I say things like a Burlington brand name.

BNSF helped Burlington become what it once was, along with other private businesses that thought BIG. No more little ideas, friends. Letís grow Burlington by leaps and bounds.

And nothing against W. Burlington, but they have us surrounded with nowhere to go. I'm not sure exactly if Burlington is 100% surrounded, but I do know itís close from maps I've seen.

Whatever way we have to expand needs to be grasped like a rope to a drowning man.

They knew the budget deficit was coming. They just donít want us to know it in time to make them more accountable. Budgets have to be examined every day. And that information needs to be given to the public and reported in the news.

08:25:00 - SPIKE - No comments

02 February

Spike Has Mail

Senator King Doesn't Recall

Unfunded Mandates From State Hurting Everyone

9:55 pm
Senator King writes:

I just wanted to make sure you understood that I don't recall saying or meaning that we "shouldn't use economic development incentives to entice companies to locate...in Burlington." The context of that discussion was that I truly wish we didn't have (operative word "have") to use incentives (tax dollars) to compete.

And, while you're pointing out how horrible all of your elected officials really are, you might try placing a little blame for our current predicament in Des Moines, where at least a little bit of it belongs...don't you think?

Thanks for the time.
Chris King.

I donít want to sound argumentative, Senator. But, whether or not you recall what you said, you did explicitly say and imply that we shouldnít use economic development incentives to entice companies to locate or maintain existing facilities in Burlington. Operative and context aside, I don't know where your quotes are quoted from, but they're not from here.

Granted, an extremely serious, debilitating situation has developed with the State of Iowa by blasting local entities with unfunded mandates. Unfunded mandates are those funds that Iowa has all of a sudden decided should not be disbursed to the local cities and counties. Maybe you should just stop paying the State of Iowa. Force a change.

You were gutsy (or foolish) enough to go after the railroad. Why not just go after the State of Iowa? You would immediately have all of the other cities and counties in Iowa as allies. And a whole lot better chance of success. Where are the answers from Courtney? Why isn't he addressing the unfunded mandate issues? I guess he's too busy whipping.

Right now, that $46,000 in railroad lawsuit legal fees has returned zero to the community. And it will be $250,000+ more before itís over. How are you going to handle that? That is a taxpayer's unfunded mandate.
23:23:00 - SPIKE - No comments

$1 Million Budget Shortfall

Out of Money? Sue The Railroad

If you try to believe that Burlington has a competent City Manager, then you must believe that he knew long ago that there was going to be a budget shortfall this year. After all, a million dollar shortage doesnít just sneak up on you.

So did the Burlington City Manager use his crystal ball to forecast this shortage and promote and endorse the Cityís lawsuit against the BNSF?

Sounds like it to me.

Or it could be that a paid, professional manager doesnít always indicate competency.

One thing is sure. This is a major anomaly here. And the taxpayers are going to pay for it.
14:04:00 - SPIKE - No comments

King Blasts Wal-Mart on Talk Show

Senator King - Kill Economic Development Incentives

Don't Shop at Wal-Mart

On the KBUR talk show today Chris King relates that our economic problems are due to shopping at Wal-Mart. And that we shouldnít use economic development incentives to entice companies to locate or maintain existing facilities in Burlington.

Wal-Mart Supercenters normally do $100 million per year in sales. What happens when that $7,000,000 in sales tax leaves West Burlington? Oh, I forgot. Just raise the taxes.

And as far as economic development incentives go, the railroad lawsuit is a pretty good one.

14:01:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Meth Ordinance Passes

Des Moines County Supervisors voted Tuesday to implement the meth ordinance restricting sales.

Good Job.
10:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments