DIXON – Reality is a bummer.
From the day I took over at Sauk Valley Media, Dixon residents have been telling me what should be done with “the Rita money.”
You know, that projected $7 million to $10 million the city will see when the final sale of Rita Crundwell’s assets are complete.
These residents suggested restoring Memorial Pool, adding to Heritage Crossing, bailing out Riverfront Commission debts, increasing funding to the Municipal Band and placing a sizable down payment on the sports and activities complex the Dixon School District was going to build if the 1-cent sales tax proposal had passed.
If only that money was just icing on the cake.
Then there’s the reality. That $53 million had to come from somewhere.
According to a presentation given by the city’s new finance director, Paula Meyer, the city went from a $10.6 million balance in its operating funds to $19.7 million in the hole in the matter of a decade.
That’s almost a $30 million swing. That’s an average of $3 million lost a year.
A city looking to become more of a destination spot will be forced to do so under a tighter budget.
The city’s borrowing power may be limited. Big capital projects may have to wait.
City organizations may have to operate on smaller budgets.
That’s just the reality.
Dateline Dixon is a weekly column on happenings in Dixon.
Derek Barichello has “office hours” from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Books on First, 202 W. First St. Feel free to stop to ask questions, suggest story ideas, or just chat.
He also can be reached at email@example.com or 800-798-4085, ext. 526.