Mayor presents State of the City
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Yesterday, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman gave the annual State of the City Address to the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce at City Hall, highlighting that things are not as perfect as the city would hope for them to be, but that many towns are similar to Macomb.
“The city of Canton, the city of Galesburg, the city of Fort Madison are all dealing with deficit budgets,” Inman said. “Now, and in the next year, we are prepared to deal with that.
One of the issues brought up was a decrease in general revenue collection, which was down 1.5 percent, with a decrease in sales tax revenue for Macomb, which was down 5 percent, or around $113,000. However, even with many of the tax revenues being below what would be ideal, the city is not in the worst shape.
“We planned for this, to some extent,” Inman said. “When this budget was put into place, we anticipated about a 3 percent reduction in sales tax revenue and other associated revenues, due to declining enrollment at Western.”
Inman reiterated through much of the presentation that Western Illinois University needs the help of the rest of Macomb in order for the town to be successful. Western President Jack Thomas and Budget Director Matt Bierman were also in attendance to speak on behalf of Western.
“One thing we want to keep in mind: we’re not the only people dealing with this,” Inman said. “The university has a great network established between administrations at other communities and we’re all facing this together and will continue to speak as best as we can with one voice.
“The community and internal campus community must, can and will work collaboratively to lift everybody up – to lift each other up to get through this,” Inman continued. “We are continuing to work together.”
Western President Jack Thomas and Budget Director Matt Bierman were also in attendance to speak on behalf of Western.
“I just want to thank you all for realizing, and I know it’s everyone’s jobs in terms of recruitment for Western Illinois University,” Thomas said. “I do appreciate all that the community does, and the mayor has a Mayor’s Roundtable for students, and (he) meets with those students to see the needs for things they want to see in the community.”
Thomas went on to say that the culture of the Macomb community is used in an attempt to boost enrollment at Western as well.
“Last weekend we just finished recruitment efforts in the Chicagoland, and we were talking about not just the university, but also the community, and how friendly the community is,” Thomas said. “We have a partnership and we take pride in that partnership we do have, and we work through a lot of different things. Sometimes disagreements, but at the same time, we all come to a happy medium, so we appreciate that.”
The mayor went on to say that one of the ways to help the university is to speak positively about the things that Western has accomplished in order to look appealing to more students to help boost enrollment. One of the aspects that Inman spoke briefly about was Western Illinois University Dance Marathon, which raised over $10,390 in 24 hours before Inman’s speech.
“A student organization — if you haven’t got hit up by these folks yet, you’re going to — Dance Marathon, they’re trying to raise a record $100,000 to support cancer patients and their families. This is an awesome group of students and student leaders on campus.”
Inman, an active supporter of the cause, said the students involved give him hope for the future.
“This gives me a great deal of encouragement in not only what Western’s producing, but what we have to look forward to in leadership in our country in the next few years,” Inman said.
The mayor also covered a variety of changes that the city is hoping to make in the next year, including the Downtown Revitalization Project and the relocation of Chubby’s.
Chubby’s, which is currently located on Adams Street, will be taking the place of Shiloh’s on the town square near Chick’s on the Square.
“It’s a much more expanded venue,” Inman said. “From what I understand from Chad (Hunziker) and the other folks at Chubby’s, it’s going to be not just an expanded venue, but a more broad menu as well.
Inman also said that even with the detriments the city faces, Macomb will be ending the fiscal year with a $3.3 million reserve, which is $127,000 more than what was originally projected.
The mayor ended his speech by showing a slide of the names and positions of city officials, also indicating which positions are up for re-election this year and then taking questions from the members of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce.
A video of the mayor’s speech along with the questions afterward is available on the Western Courier Facebook page.