Council talks water issues


Jasmyne Taylor/ Courier Staff

Macomb Mayor Mike Inman.

Steven Barnum, Courier Staff

Even though they were shielded from the rain, the Macomb, Ill. city council met on Tuesday to talk about water issues.

First on the agenda was the city’s plan to charge citizens a flat service fee of $2 per month for every water meter in town. Quick to give his proposal from the public comments section was Macomb resident Dana Walker.

Walker suggested they charge different fees relative to the size of each meter, instead of charging everybody the same fee.

“I’ve heard no reason not to adopt the alternative fee schedule,” regarding his proposal from late last year. “There’s some resentment to the flat fee among the regular citizens of the community and it builds every time you raise the fee.”

According to Walker, meters come in many different sizes, and it only makes sense to charge more depending on how big the meters are. Adding to the validity of his alternative idea, Walker declared there were no objections when he last laid out his plan.

Sticking with water, the apparent theme of the night, Scott Coker recapped the problem with the Central Water Treatment Plant. Coker, the public works director, reminded the council that one of the three pumps is currently out of order due to a vibration. The pump needs to be removed from the ground and serviced.

The task of removing the pump from the ground won’t be an easy one; the pump is rather large and occupies space well beneath the ground. The pump, which has pumped roughly half of the five trillion gallons of water used by the city since 2010, must be removed with a crane.

Coker assured the council that the pump would be worth fixing. It would take 12 to 16 weeks to get a new pump, and it would cost much less to service the existing pump than it would to bring in a new pump.

Central Sump Service is the apparent low bidder for the project. They will be responsible for removing the pump, taking it to their shop, and servicing it so it’s ready for future use.

The amount agreed upon is just over $900,000. “We are receiving a grant and the additional expenses will come from our water fund,” said Coker, “we’re within our budgeted amount on that and we received great bids.”

Of the three bids in total, the council ultimately chose to accept Central Sump’s Service’s offer.

Next, it was announced that the Macomb transportation was looking at construction bids for bus stops. Of the five contractors who submitted bids, Otto Baum Company, Inc offered the lowest bid. The offer was for $139,156, which is well within the construction estimate of $172,000. After review, IDOT recommended that Otto Baum be awarded with $156,722.

“This was three to four years in planning for the Go West Transit System,” said Macomb Mayor Mike Inman “federal funding went away and then came back,” pointing out how the deal is now possible. Specifically, IDOT handed out grant funds that now allow for the transportation.

The council will officially approve the bid at next week’s meeting.

In closing, it was revealed that the local high school was holding a forum with political candidates shortly after the city council meeting. The forum allowed residents to discuss the upcoming primary elections, which will be held next month.