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Pay hike turned down

DIXON – The Dixon City Council said no to a pay increase for the Riverfront Commission’s executive manager.

The City Council voted 4-1 Monday not to increase Kay Miller’s pay from $200 to $800 a month, with Mayor Jim Burke supplying the only vote in favor. The Riverfront Commission now must reconsider its contract proposal with Miller.

The Riverfront Commission voted 3-1 in favor of the pay increase in October, but the council had the final say.

Commissioner Dennis Considine said Miller did not generate enough money to justify the raise, while Commissioner Dave Blackburn said the “information is lacking” from the Riverfront to sign off on it.

“I didn’t see in the (Riverfront) budget where I can say I’m confident in paying $800,” Commissioner Colleen Brechon-Vancil said.

Commissioner Jeff Kuhn suggested Dixon Tourism, Dixon Main Street and the Riverfront discuss a possible consolidation of services.

Burke said those groups already have, and it didn’t work out.

“On paper that sounds good, but everyone involved did not feel it would be practical,” the mayor said.

Riverfront Chairman Larry Reed called Miller’s position a 24/7 job, involving public relations, promotion of events, selling amenities and organizing fundraisers, which came with its own grocery list of responsibilities.

Four people offered public comment against the pay increase, including Josie Almassy, who was one of two who volunteered to do the job for free last summer.

“I’m not offering that anymore,” Almassy said.

Reed batted off accusations that the Riverfront did not have the money for the pay increase, saying the projected 2013 budget included Miller’s pay. He stated the commission had a $28,069.52 maintenance balance – enough money to make it one year without raising a single dime.

Reed also added the position was once manned by a volunteer, but it became too much.

Also Monday, the council:

n Approved a tentative tax levy asking for $3,592,519, an increase of 4.6 percent from last year. Financial advisers Stan Helgerson and Dave Richardson said citizens should expect close to the same tax rate from the city’s levy, depending on how the cost of living is set. The final tax levy will be approved on or before the second meeting in December.

n Heard a presentation on municipal aggregation, which grants the city the authority to combine households and small businesses into a buying group for electricity, and will have to decide before Jan. 22 if it wishes to put a referendum on the ballot again.

n Heard from Josh Albrecht, executive director of Dixon Main Street, who proposed a facade grant program utilizing the city’s downtown tax-increment financing fund.

n Confirmed appointments of Ann Lewis to the Dixon Tourism Board and Linda Brantley to the Historic Preservation Commission.

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