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Task force set to meet May 1

DIXON – A task force charged with looking at the city’s form of government will hold its first meeting May 1, Mayor Jim Burke said at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The City Council finalized the seven people for the group in February and the mayor hoped they could meet later that month, but May is the earliest all members could get together.

“I wanted 100 percent attendance at the first meeting to get this thing going,” Burke said.

In reaction to former comptroller Rita Crundwell’s theft of nearly $54 million from the city over 20 years, Burke vowed this summer to create a task force to study the different types of government, including the city’s current commission form, and recommend which is best for Dixon.

Critics say the commission form, in which part-time commissioners oversee various departments with no little or no oversight, is how Crundwell was able to perpetrate her long-term theft.

It also recently has come to light that City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen, who is also personnel and public works director, used city-issued credit cards to pay for about $13,000 of personal items.

The ad hoc committee will serve one year; the City Council could budget “a couple thousand dollars” to cover any out-of-pocket expenses members may have, Burke said.

Dixon resident Carol Fisher offered the lone public comment at Monday’s meeting. She said council members are responsible for Ortgiesen’s behavior and questioned their decision to promote him to personnel director in August.

Also Monday:

– Streets Commissioner Jeff Kuhn said Dixon’s sidewalk program will resume this summer. In it, property owners who wish to install new sidewalks pay only the cost of materials, about $125 a yard, and city employees will do the work.

n Commissioners approved raises for Dixon Welcome Center employees Don Wendt and Judy McCartney. Wendt will receive $9 per hour, up from $8.25, and McCartney will get $10.45 an hour, up from $9.45.

n The council appointed Al Hill and Joe Crishan to the airport board, Marion Younger and Bob Mezo Jr. to the zoning board of appeals, and Bill Weronko to the Riverfront Commission.

n The council agreed to seek bids to paint the water tower on the city’s north side near Shopko. The project is estimated to cost about $270,000.

n An ordinance was placed on file authorizing municipal aggregation for electricity.

n Randi Gittleson took the oath of office to join the Dixon Police Department.

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