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Dollars from Dixon just a band-aid?

As city leaders mull a bump in band budget, some say it’s just a short-term fix to a long-term issue: making the group more self-sustaining

DIXON – The Dixon Municipal Band could be facing a smaller cut to to the funds it gets from the city, but city leaders first want to know how that money will be spent.

City budget talks initially had the band's budget at $20,000 for fiscal year 2019, but the City Council agreed to increase that to $25,000, contingent upon getting a breakdown of expenses.

A year ago, the council cut $10,000 from the band's budget, from $41,500 to $31,500, and the band is in the process of launching a fundraising campaign in an effort to become more self-sufficient.

Councilman Mike Venier said he was concerned that the city spends very little when it comes to promoting arts and culture in the community and bolstering quality of life.

"It seems out of balance," Venier said.

The $25,000 will come from a pool of about $80,000 remaining from when the city used to levy funds for the band, while $20,000 is being put toward performances at the Historic Dixon Theatre, which means the levy money will run dry within 2 years.

The city can levy property tax dollars to fund the band but has not done so since 2014 because that would mean pulling away money that could go into the general fund.

The council discussed taking $50,000 allocated for a retail development study, which the city likely won't be pursuing, and putting it toward the band, but the decision was to use up the remaining band money first.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said that $50,000 could buy the band a little more time, but it doesn't change the need for the band to be more self-sustainable.

The longer the city supports the band, the closer it comes to competing with other line items in the budget, he said.

Councilman Dennis Considine said he would be against shelling out $5,000 more unless the council had a detailed budget saying how the band will spend the money.

"I don't think we put enough control on how we allocate our money," Considine said.

So far, the band is planning six concerts for its summer series, but aims to raise $10,000 for a full season of 10 performances.


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

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


Call Dixon Municipal Band Director Mark Dempsey at 217-853-6840 or Manager Cathy James at 815-499-9426 for more information or to donate to the band.

Donations can also be mailed to Dixon City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

A new website for the band is in the works and can be found at, where online donating will soon be available.


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