DIXON – The Riverfront Commission soon may ask the city to help it pay its bills.
After seeing a preliminary 2013 budget drafted by Riverfront Chairman Larry Reed, the commission projected Tuesday that it will need to raise $6,000 just to break even in its maintenance budget for Heritage Crossing.
That’s assuming it’s able to sell four benches, three cafe tables, 46 pavers, four tent rentals and five pavilion rentals.
An estimated $27,660 is needed to operate and maintain Heritage Crossing, including the proposed $600 per month raise for Executive Manager Kay Miller that awaits City Council approval.
These figures do not include an estimated $3,500 to repair cracks in the sidewalks or damaged berm, labeled “beautification items” on the proposed budget.
This year, the Riverfront’s maintenance fund has brought in about $6,800 more than it has spent, with revenues around $34,000 and expenditures around $27,000.
In 2011, the Riverfront’s maintenance fund lost about $9,500, bringing in about $30,500 and spending nearly $40,000.
With sales of amenities dwindling, another long-term revenue source must be explored, Reed indicated.
Private fundraising has been the sole source for operations and maintenance at Heritage Crossing, Reed said.
Commission member John Varga suggested about $25,000 from the city would cover the Riverfront’s maintenance expenses.
“Dixon Main Street receives about $15,000,” he said. “We need to have the city put us on the agenda to cover our operating costs.”
Member Priscilla Brickley added: “This is a city operation. The city should be taking care of it. I thought we were in this together?”
The commission took no official action, but Reed said discussions with city officials will have to convene on what can be done to help their budget. A capital fundraising campaign also was discussed.
“Our existing funding source is smaller and smaller,” Reed said. “We’ve been able to meet maintenance in the past with no problems, but that looks to be changing.”
The commission still has not met its master plan to develop a bike and pedestrian bridge across the Rock River or a boat-docking facility.
While the Riverfront approved an agreement with a grant writer last month, the contract awaits City Council approval. Grant writer Frank Rausa would receive a commission only if the grant application were successful. The grant would help pay 80 percent of the boat-docking construction costs estimated around $155,000.
Varga suggested the project be put on hold until budget issues are settled.