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East Moline State of City address highlights growth and financial stability | Politics and elections

In his State of the City address Thursday afternoon, East Moline Mayor Reggie Freeman said the city is making a strong financial and economic comeback from the impact of COVID-19.

Hosted by the East Moline-Silvis Rotary Club, Freeman addressed the crowd of local city and county officials, staff, business leaders and residents gathered inside the Bend Event Center in East Moline.

Freeman reviewed the city’s accomplishments over the past year and highlighted economic development plans for the future. 

“In early 2020, our stars were aligning. Our future was bright and our arrow was pointing up,” Freeman said, noting the onset of the pandemic presented numerous challenges for the city. “While development activity slowed, it did not stop.”

Since then, Freeman said city staff has been working diligently with local developers to bring a number of projects to the city.

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Plans include a new 38-duplex residential complex along the Mississippi River and an additional hotel within The Bend property to be constructed on the south side of the Expo Center. MetroLINK will also add a Channel Cat Water Taxi stop at The Bend, where construction of a pedestrian path connecting The Bend and Rust Belt with downtown East Moline are also planned, as is construction of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights Training Center. 

The training center, to be located near the former Quad-City Downs, will serve more than 2,000 union members and apprentices in the Quad-Cities and the state.

Freeman also highlighted the $7 million renovation of the city’s new library, a 22,000 square-foot building at 1523 8th St.

“The new library should be ready for patrons any day now,” Freeman said. 

Annaka Whiting

East Moline Finance Director Annaka Whiting speaks during the State of the City address on Thursday, May 5, 2022, as Mayor Reggie Freeman looks on. 

Sarah Hayden

Finance Director Annaka Whiting said that because of COVID-19, the city “budgeted cautiously” last year.

“Our 2021 sales tax increased 19.3%, or almost $550,000 from the previous year,” Whiting said. “The city also saw an increase in our non-home-rule sales tax of 27.9%, for $133,000 (more).”

Whiting said the city also benefited from increases in the replacement tax and income taxes due to corporate tax receipts. Going forward, Whiting said the city is expecting moderate increases in revenue from entertainment and tourism-related taxes. 

“Progress takes time. It takes work and stepping outside of our comfort zone and planning ahead,” she said. “Decisions we make today have a direct impact on the future of the city. Staff continue to seek opportunities and develop plans that encourage long-term financial investment and sustainability.”

Doug Maxeiner

East Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner speaks during the State of the City address on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Sarah Hayden

City Administrator Doug Maxeiner said the city’s “main revenue sources are strong” and things are trending upward.

“We’ve got a lot going on in East Moline,” Freeman said in closing. “We are still on the upward trajectory, and I’m proud of the things we have been able to accomplish.”

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