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Dixon officials eye fresh start in 2013

New industry, improvements on wish lists

DIXON —As Dixon residents made resolutions for 2013, Dixon City Council members shared their own goals for the city.

Righting City Hall after Rita Crundwell’s theft spree is their main objective, but they go beyond there.

Mayor Jim Burke wants to fulfill a current project he is working on to bring a new industry to Dixon and help another expand.

Commissioner Jeff Kuhn wants to see more streets refurbished and continue the sidewalk program.

And Commissioner Colleen Brechon would like to see upgrades to public properties, such as the cemetery and City Hall.

Commissioners Dennis Considine could not be reached for comment, and David Blackburn said he would make public comments only at City Council meetings.

Moving forward after the Crundwell arrest, Brechon said, starts with repairing the confidence at City Hall, which she said was lost when it was discovered the former comptroller had taken nearly $54 million from city accounts over two decades.

Initiatives to open communication are in the works, including a governmental task force that will evaluate Dixon’s commission form of government and strategic planning, which Burke cited as items he is looking forward to in 2013.

“It should not be an ‘us against them’ [citizens versus local government],” Brechon said. “We should be more cooperative, and listen.”

Kuhn looks forward to the completion of selling Crundwell’s assets, her federal sentencing Feb. 14, and her Lee County trial on 40 counts of theft.

“It’ll be great to get it all over with, so that we can move on, and start looking forward,” Kuhn said.

Burke said he would not comment further on prospects for bringing a new business to town, but he said more information could come later this month if a deal is reached.

Along with working to bring another industry to Dixon, Burke said he wants to see the streetscape project continued in downtown, similar to what’s been done on Hennepin Avenue with tax increment financing. That could become a discussion item within the council, as Kuhn prefers not to borrow money for the project.

Brechon said the air conditioning unit and roof highlight a list of neglected repairs at City Hall due to the financial strife caused by Crundwell’s crime. She said the cemetery also needs several upgrades.

She said she also wants to see more common sense used in the city’s budget.

“I want to know why there is too much money given to some accounts in the budget, and not enough with others,” Brechon said. “I want to evaluate that.”

Kuhn also said he is looking forward to the expansion of Veterans Memorial Park with a plot of adjacent property that was recently donated to the Veterans Commission.

“It’ll be a good thing for everyone to get beyond the Crundwell stuff,” Kuhn said, “and start making the upgrades to our city that were horribly neglected all this time.”

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