Dixon Municipal Airport formally regulates crop-dusting operations in new lease agreement

The hangars are full at the Dixon Municipal Airport, but not necessarily with what they should be full of – operational planes – and the Dixon Airport Board plans to change that.

DIXON – The Dixon Municipal Airport introduced its first formal regulations for crop-dusting operations at the airport after the Dixon City Council approved a lease agreement at its regular meeting Monday.

Up to this point, the city has not implemented any formal agreement for the operation of crop-dusting equipment at the airport, but since the airport has gotten busier, Assistant City Manager Matt Heckman said it wanted to “add structure that was perhaps lacking.”

The agreement was modeled after other airports in Illinois that regulate crop-dusting operations. It outlines specific guidelines for how crop dusters are expected to operate at the airport and fixes a daily fee of $300 to operate out of the airport.

Agreement terms outline specific insurance requirements for equipment used on the property and protect the city against certain liability claims. The deal also addresses several safety requirements, such as carrying radios in the aircraft, flying standard flight patterns and having adequate safeguards on equipment that protect against chemical spills.

“Even though we probably don’t know a lot about crop dusting, a lot of the things that you might think of from a common sense standpoint, the document, it has all of those,” city attorney Robert LeSage said at the meeting.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Approved an agreement with the Illinois Department of Military Affairs to establish a right of way for $10. It “gives [the city] just a little bit of land to put a bike path in for Project Rock,” Heckman said. The agreement eliminates the need for rock removal and other logistical things that would be difficult when beginning construction of the project’s pedestrian bridge across the Rock River using the old Illinois Central Railroad piers.
  • Approved the first grant agreement for Project Rock with the U.S. Department of Transportation under the fiscal 2021 Raise Grant Program. A second grant agreement that is between the city of Dixon and the Illinois Department of Transportation will be brought to the council soon. “It will be nice to see [Project Rock] moving forward,” Mayor Glen Hughes said.
  • Authorized a refund of 70% of real estate taxes to property owners in the Overlook Gardens subdivision. The subdivision is located outside the city limits of any municipality and was annexed by the city of Dixon during a City Council meeting Aug. 21, 2023. As a result, property owners have seen significant increases in their real estate taxes. Hughes explained at the meeting that he and City Manager Danny Langloss met with a large group of Overlook Gardens residents who expressed concerns about the increase in their tax bills. They did not expect the tax increases to be put into effect until 2025. The council agreed that after the residents’ full tax bills are paid, the city of Dixon will mail them a one-time refund.
  • Approved an ordinance that will close Depot Avenue between West Sixth Street and West Seventh Street from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, for Discover Dixon’s Dement Town Music Festival and will amend the liquor code to allow open consumption of alcohol at the event, provided it is bought at licensed establishments in the event area.
  • Approved an ordinance that will close West River Street from South Hennepin Avenue to South Peoria Avenue from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, for Discover Dixon’s Venetian Night and will amend the liquor code to allow the open consumption of alcohol at the event, provided it is bought from Tipsy’s, an official sponsor of the event.
  • Confirmed the reappointment of Michael Cole Sr. as a member of the Fire and Police Commission for a term from June 1 until May 31, 2027; confirmed the reappointments of Tracey Lawton, Kevin Marx and Jonathan Connor Self to the Dixon Public Library Board of Trustees for terms starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2027, or until their successors are duly appointed and qualified; and confirmed the reappointment of Bob Mezo and Thomas Whitcombe as members of the Dixon Zoning Board of Appeals for terms from July 1 to June 30, 2029.
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Payton Felix

Payton Felix

Payton Felix reports on local news in the Sauk Valley for the Shaw Local News Network. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2023.