DIXON – Dixon Main Street is asking the City Council for $33,000 – more than double the $14,000 it has gotten the past 2 years – so it can avoid cutting any events.
Main Street's budget is about $100,000. Fundraisers, donations, grants and the city's contribution fund the group; it gets no federal or state money.
Mayor Jim Burke said commissioners have put aside $15,000 for Main Street. Talks are ongoing, though, and the council is looking to cut about $10,852 more with the intent of approving a balanced budget.
The council must approve a budget at its first meeting in July; all items are subject to change until then.
Commissioner Dennis Considine and Burke said they are willing to increase Main Street's allocation but aren't sure by how much just yet, suggesting perhaps an annual increase that reaches $33,000 over time.
Main Street plays a vital role in the development downtown, Considine said.
Commissioner Jeff Kuhn said he still is reviewing the proposal. Commissioner Colleen Brechon could not be reached for comment Tuesday and Commissioner David Blackburn has said he will comment only at council meetings.
By comparison, the city tentatively has budgeted about $26,000 to Lee County Industrial Development, $25,000 to Dixon Tourism outside of hotel tax revenues and $10,000 to The Next Picture Show fine arts center, Burke said.
The increase would put Dixon Main Street in line with the National Trust Main Street and Illinois Main Street recommendation that a third of a Main Street organization's budget come from the local municipality, said Josh Albrecht, executive director of the local nonprofit.
Albrecht pointed to a potential loss of $5,000 and an increase in costs to host events as reasons for the proposed increase.
"We have to fundraise to keep up with inflation, and sooner or later, we're going to hit a ceiling of how much can be raised," Albrecht said. "We want to continue moving forward, and we don't want to have to cut back on anything in our current budget."
Main Street 's mission is to enhance the city through revitalization, historic preservation and events.
In 2012, the organization brought Mumford & Sons to the city, turning the band's appearance into a 2-day festival. It also puts on the free Friday concerts during the summer, the Scarecrow Festival, the Christmas Walk and Reagan Trail Days, among other events.
In total, the group worked on about 50 events last year.
This year, Main Street wants to create a downtown business incubator, host the city's first Blues, Brews and BBQ event, and help the Petunia Festival with its move into the downtown.
"A good example of the impact Main Street has had is to look at Second Saturdays," Burke said.
"My wife and I couldn't find a parking spot on Second Saturday. Restaurants were full, plenty of people were downtown. That's an impact right there. Just like the other groups the city gives money to, we see this as an investment back into the community."