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Can Dixon pay for projects?

Work on sewers, library discussed by council at budget workshop

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – A sewer replacement project has been on hold for years, and library repairs are needed.

Both possible expenditures were discussed Tuesday during a workshop in which the Dixon City Council started work on the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins May 1.

The workshop covered the city’s two enterprise funds, for the wastewater and water departments, and the restricted funds, which include the Social Security, library, motor fuel tax and airport funds, among others.

The council and department heads will meet again Jan. 28, when the general fund will be discussed. There also will be presentations from The Next Picture Show, the Airport Board and Municipal Band to show how they use city funds.

Commissioner Dave Blackburn, who led the workshop Tuesday, said the city wants to know it isn’t blindly filling in any deficits with those individual expenditures.

Dan Mahan, superintendent of the wasterwater department, had requested $1 million to pay for a sewer replacement project on River Street. Mahan said the most recent estimate for the project, done about 3 years ago, was $900,000. Some preliminary engineering work has been done but not completed, Mahan said.

Finance Director Paula Meyer said the city’s wastewater fund can’t be used to pay for the project because of a 5-year freeze in sewer rates the council approved in December. So, Meyer said, the River Street project would have to be paid for from either capital funds or from the about $39.2 million the city received in a settlement with its former auditors and bank and from the sale of former Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s assets.

Library maintenance work also was discussed Tuesday among potential capital projects.

Because a low tax levy led to delays on maintenance, work now is needed to fix the roof, walls and water leaks, Library Director Lynn Roe said.

In February, a contractor will present to the Library Board an outline of building maintenance issues, Roe said.

About 90 percent of the library’s budget comes from property taxes, Roe said. The rest comes from donations, late fees, and out-of-city memberships, which are $50 a year for a single household.

If the levy for the library were to be raised, the levy for another fund – most likely the general fund – would have to be lowered, Meyer said, because there is a tax cap in Lee County.

The city is anticipating a transfer of $88,000 to the library fund, the first time the city has helped with the library budget that Meyer and Roe could remember.

Meetings ahead

The Dixon City Council will have another budget workshop at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St., on the second floor in the Council Chambers.

The next regular City Council meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at City Hall.

Go to www.DiscoverDixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.

 

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