Dixon, IL Running $2.7 Million in the Black - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Dixon, IL Running $2.7 Million in the Black

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For the first time in a long time, the City of Dixon, Illinois, finds itself in a comfortable position financially. This, after 2012 brought upon the discovery that former comptroller Rita Crundwell "misappropriated" the city's money.

Dixon was running $2.7 million in the black at the end of the first seven months of this fiscal year, according to the latest numbers, presented to Dixon City Council Monday night.

"We will have a really comfortable balance at the end of the budget year," said Mayor Jim Burke.

"That's a wonderful feeling. It sure is," he added.

It is certainly a novel feeling in Dixon, where for years, Rita Crundwell was embezzling from the city's coffers to pay for her own lavish lifestyle.

She has admitted to stealing $53 million from tax payers over her years on the job.

"We have gone into a positive cash flow here," Burke said. "Once we stopped the leaks, we started to build up some money here, so were very pleased about everything that's taken place."

Wipfli, the accounting firm hired on shortly after Crundwell's arrest last April, has spent the last year trying to piece together how much she took - and how - in her last year in city government alone.

It hasn't been easy. Gathering a lot of the information was especially challenging:

"Because the FBI took a lot of the financial records with them. They came in and hauled them away," Rory Sohn, a Wipfli partner, explained.

Still, Sohn tells city council the final audit report could be ready within the next few weeks.

"We're about probably 95% of the way done. There are a couple of items we're still waiting on," he said.

The biggest: the final totals for the funds to be returned to the city from the sale of Crundwell's property and possessions.

Sohn estimates that will be $8.5-$9.5 million, but he hopes to have a much better idea by the time Crundwell is sentenced on federal wire fraud charges February 14.

Mayor Jim Burke tells us the fact that the city is running millions of dollars in the black sends a much-needed positive message to the taxpayers there - that they can have confidence in their government's accounting and accountability again.

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