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Dixon City Council approves $30 million capital improvement plan

City hires consultant to look into fire department overlap

Published: Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 10:22 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 12:06 a.m. CDT
Caption
Cole O'Donnell

DIXON – The City Council approved its first capital improvement plan Monday that outlines about $30 million in projects during the next 5 years.

City Manager Cole O’Donnell presented the council on Dec. 12 with about 200 pages of priority projects and ways to fund them for fiscal years 2018 through 2022.

While the list of is long, it’s also flexible; projects can be revised, moved or cut altogether.

The plan includes $2.3 million for repairing and resurfacing Depot Avenue from Fifth to Seventh streets, $1.2 million for replacing the water main on South Galena Avenue, and about $1.25 million each year for street repairs and resurfacing work.

He said the plan also serves as a budgetary tool by looking at long-range estimates of revenues and expenses and which areas don’t balance out.

Expenses in the water and wastewater departments are both expected to outpace revenues, with the water fund projected to be about $600,000 in the red by the end of next fiscal year and about $3 million in the hole at the end of 5 years.

O’Donnell said neither fund is projected to have enough money to meet its obligations as laid out in the plan.

The city increased water and sewer rates last year to give more of a buffer to department funds, but the list of needed infrastructure improvements has grown.

The water department has about $7.6 million of improvements in the plan, and the wastewater department has about $3.9 million.

O’Donnell said that even though the city has a good financial footing for the project’s goals over the next 5 years, capital funds will be strained in the next 6 or 7 years because those revenues will need to help cover growing operational costs, including pension obligations and infrastructure needs.

“This will begin to limit our ability to meet capital needs unless new sources of revenue are identified,” O’Donnell said.

The City Council plans to meet at 5 p.m. today to discuss ways to address increased pension costs and how to fund them in the future.

FIRE STUDY

The council also approved a $11,500 contract to have a consultant review a 2008 fire study, which looked at consolidating the city and Dixon rural fire protection districts, and identify cost-saving measures that could be implemented in the short term.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said consultant William Balling, managing director of WRB Management Services, will be looking for “low-hanging fruit” in the study that could be implemented during the next fiscal year, which begins May 1.

The goal is to find ways to reduce redundancies and have more cost-effective operations quickly, he said.

After initial recommendations, the council could pursue a second, broader-scope contract geared toward more extensive consolidation efforts between the two departments.

“This isn’t a study that’s just going to sit on a shelf,” Arellano said.

The contract does not outline a specific timeline, but the council could see the recommendations by next month.

NEXT MEETING

The City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

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

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