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Status quo on meeting minutes in Dixon

Main Street-Riverfront merger discussed; time change approved

Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

DIXON – Citing the need for confidentiality, the Dixon City Council will keep 20 of 24 closed session minutes secret.

The decision came during Monday night’s regular City Council meeting and includes closed meeting minutes from the day former Comptroller Rita Crundwell was arrested at City Hall in 2012.

The decision to release some minutes and not to release others was made with two separate motions, which both passed with unanimous votes.

Under the Open Meetings Act, public bodies are required to review minutes of closed sessions twice a year to determine whether the need for secrecy still exists and can vote to release the minutes if they no longer see the need for confidentiality.

Public bodies are permitted to have a closed meeting to discuss a variety of issues, including litigation and employment decisions, among others.

On Monday night, the City Council entered a closed meeting for, according to the agenda, “deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of municipal employees.”

The minutes released by the City Council on Monday night, Mayor Jim Burke said, involved discussions about hiring now-Finance Director Paula Meyer, a salary issue for an employee and a meeting where closed meeting minutes were reviewed.

The City Council voted to not release the other minutes because the need for confidentiality still existed, which Burke said Friday was the advice of the city’s lawyers.

Main Street-Riverfront Commission merger

Main Street Executive Director Josh Albrecht got the blessing of the City Council to send a formal contract for the merger between Main Street and the Riverfront Commission to City Attorney Rob LeSage.

On Feb. 3, Albrecht presented an initial proposal to the City Council, which included the addition of a full-time position to handle marketing and event planning for the riverfront.

The contract could be placed on file during the March 17 City Council meeting.

In the contract proposal discussed Monday night, the city would contribute $15,000 for the marking position’s salary and Main Street would contribute $25,000. The city would also contribute $16,000 to pay for a riverfront maintenance worker and give Main Street access to the Riverfront Maintenance Account, which has about $19,000, Albrecht said.

The Riverfront Maintenance Account is funded by the sale of engraved bricks on the riverfront.

In the merger, which was first discussed in early 2013 and then recommended to the City Council by a task force in September, Main Street will take over the day-to-day operations of the rivefront.

Time change

Starting on May 5 – in city’s next fiscal year – the City Council will meet an hour earlier for its regular meeting, which are held the first and third Monday of each month, except when conflicting with a holiday.

The time change – from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – was approved by a 4-1 vote Monday night. Commissioner Colleen Brechon was the only vote against.

The time change was proposed by Burke as a way of making the City Council meetings more convenient for city staff and residents to attend.

During the Feb. 18 meeting, when the ordinance was placed on file, Brechon said 5:30 p.m. time might not give residents and commissioners enough time between work and the meeting.

To attend

The Dixon City Council next meets at 6:30 p.m. March 17 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St., on the second floor in the Council Chambers.

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

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