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Dixon City Council continues debate over funding for band, art gallery

DIXON — City Council members are split on how much money to give The Next Picture Show and Dixon Municipal Band, which has faced several cuts in city funding.

In February, The Next Picture Show’s new executive director Philip Atilano presented to the council several goals to increase programming and events including upping the different workshop classes for adults and children and creating a city art festival.

Atilano requested the city donate $35,000 and then $15,000 in subsequent years.

In the past, the city once donated $10,000 to the group and then turned things over to the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street, which was supposed to take on some of the city’s donations to local organizations. There were concerns that the art gallery hadn’t received funding from Chamber Main Street in the last year or two.

The council also provided $25,000 in 2019 to help it buy its own building downtown.

The council had decided on budgeting $8,000 for TNPS, but a majority of members are looking to increase that to $20,000.

Councilwoman Mary Oros, who’s also a TNPS board member, said the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the gallery, especially during the lockdown. She said the new director has several goals to grow the art culture in the area and broaden the demographic it serves.

Council members Mike Venier and Dennis Considine also advocated for more funding.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said he would like the TNPS board to change its bylaws and specify that a seat would be filled by a council member.

The allocation for the band remains at $15,000, which is $10,000 less than the group requested so it could have a full season and provide special performances.

Councilman Chris Bishop previously suggested that the city fund the band with new revenue after the council decided to increase fees for video gambling terminals from $25 to $250 per terminal, which will likely generate around $30,000 to $40,000.

Other plans include giving the Dixon Historic Theatre $200,000, with $100,000 going toward events and the other $100,000 toward a local match for a grant it is pursuing.

The council is also earmarking $75,000 for Christmas decorations, most of which would go toward installing a 30-foot tree in Page Park.

The city’s new fiscal year begins May 1, and the council plans to further discuss donations this month.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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