DIXON – The city aims to go forward with combining its utility funds and wants to step back from using recovery dollars to buy property downtown.
The city was proposing to use just short of $2 million out of its $4.4 million available in Rita Crundwell recovery money toward replacing the water main on South Galena Avenue from River to Fourth streets for $1.2 million, buying up three properties downtown for $450,000 and developing the Peoria Avenue riverfront parking lot for $335,000.
All of those projects were taken out of the proposed fiscal year 19 budget Monday during the city's latest budget workshop.
The property purchases were $185,000 for the former Walter C. Knack property on West First Street, $65,000 for the Dixon Iron & Metal Co. scrapyard on Monroe Avenue, and $200,000 for the former Nicor Gas property on West First Street.
City Manager Danny Langloss said the city could use about $295,000 connected with the downtown tax increment financing district to buy property to promote redevelopment, rather than using recovery money, and Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said the Nicor purchase isn't likely to happen in FY19, which starts May 1.
The Peoria parking lot project was pushed to FY21 and is awaiting the release of grant funds.
The City Council has discussed combining its water and wastewater funds the past few weeks for a healthier bottom line; the water fund is projected to be about $51,000 in the red in 5 years, and a joint fund would be able to afford the water main project.
"It solidifies both funds, and it makes us healthy in both," Langloss said.
Both funds bring in revenue from fees, but the water department has higher operating and infrastructure costs.
Public Works Director Matt Heckman said it makes sense to combine the funds, but he recommended that they still pay for the water main project with recovery dollars in case they run into an expensive problem down the road.
"When things go wrong, they can go wrong in a big way," he said.
The council made the consensus that the water main project shouldn't come from the recovery fund, and the water and wastewater departments are meant to be self-sustainable.
"The utilities should carry their own weight," Arellano said.
The City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday 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.