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Digging Out: Dixon Faces $24 Million Deficit After Crundwell Scandal

City officials laid out a bumpy financial road to residents during a packed town hall meeting in Dixon. Despite receiving a $40 million settlement, the city estimates facing at least a $24 million dollar deficit before being able to tackle new projects
At least $24 million in debt is going to have to be retired as quickly as possible.
DIXON (WTVO) -- After the $40 million dollar settlement resulting from the Rita Crundwell scandal, the city of Dixon has to decide what to do with that money, but it's not that simple.

"At least $24 million in debt is going to have to be retired as quickly as possible," says Jeff Kuhn, Dixon’s Streets and Sanitation Commissioner.

Thursday's presentation by the city shows residents the difficulty ahead.

"We’ve had to keep the city operating while all of this going on,” says Mayor Jim Burke. “We reduced thru attrition our employment number by 20 to 30 percent."

"I’ve got some things that I want to do,” says Burke. “But we have got to get some input from the people here."

Residents had a chance to share their ideas with city officials. Burke says he’s ready for anything.

"From eliminating all city taxes to constructing a new swimming pool,” says Burke. “Yeah, there have been a lot of suggestions."

"It was our childhood,” says Deb LaCoursiere, who was among a dozen showing support for refurbishing the city’s Memorial Pool. “We want it to be our kids’ childhood and our grandkids childhood.”

While some showed support for fixing the pool, residents understands what comes first

"I think first the city should get themselves out of debt,” says LaCoursiere.

"If (it were) up to me to decide, we would put a lot of it into infrastructure,” says Kuhn. “We're looking at a street right now with 100-year old storm sewers."

But Kuhn knows every gets a say, and it's a little complicated getting the ledger back to normal after a devastating crime.

"I’d like to see the debt paid down. I’d like to see the infrastructure worked on. I'd like to see a contingency fund built in there,” says Kuhn. “So you know I think that in itself will take a lot of the money there."
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