Two Years Later: Dixon, IL Recovering From Rita Crundwell - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Two Years Later: Dixon, IL Recovering From Rita Crundwell

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Rita Crundwell the former comptroller of Dixon, IL somehow stole $53 million from the small town. She pleaded guilty in 2012 and is now serving nearly 20 years in a federal prison.

Now, about two years in the aftermath the embezzlement scandal, the City of Dixon is making it clear that they're moving forward and putting the past behind them. 

"They are in a better shape than what I expected them to be, walking in the door a year and a half ago," said Finance Director for the City of Dixon Paula Meyer.

Paula Meyer now sits at Rita Crundwell's old desk, hired on as the new city finance director. She revamped the city's bookkeeping system making it more secure a few of many changes and checks and balances put in place after Crundwell's arrest.

"Because there is more money in the budget every year, because it isn't being taken we're able to catch up on some stuff that we haven't been able to do, different maintenance projects and some different replace of equipment," said Meyer.

Projects like road re-surfacing and fixing sewer lines. Things city officials said should have been maintained but didn't have the funds to do so. 

"Now I'm just trying to get caught up," said Commissioner of Streets & Public Improvements Jeff Kuhn. "This is work that should have been done years ago. It's a struggle to try and get it done but we're working really hard at it."

The Mayor of Dixon said the atmosphere in the community has changed completely.

"A lot of valid criticism of the city council and all of us and we've taken it to heart," said Mayor James Burke. "So, it's a whole different conversation that's going on now. I had faith that we could get through this thing and that we'd come out of this thing a better city and that's exactly what's happening."

People in the community said they're very proud of their city and are excited to move forward.

"I think we've done a good job in recovering the money that Rita took and we're just kind of being very positive and looking ahead and hoping for a bright future for Dixon," said life-long resident Janet Payne.

"I think the moral is on the way back up," said Dixon community member Patrick Gorman. "Dixon has always been a town with a big heart, a lot of good people live here, a lot of volunteers and I think we want to put this piece of history behind us."

Mayor Burke said they have many strategic planning sessions to come on how they'll spend the recovery money from the settlement but all of it will be used to better the city of Dixon. 

He said by the end of the summer, they'll have a plan for where all the recovery money will be allocated.


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