City Council settles on a budget

Steven Barnum, Assistant News Editor

The Macomb City Council has officially adopted a budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget, which has been available for members of the public to examine and was recently discussed at a public hearing, totals to $25,677,000. While the budget was passed for the next fiscal year of May 1 of 2018 to April 30 of 2019, not every council member had an optimistic outlook about the town’s future.

“We can’t continue to pass deficit budgets,” Alderman at Large Dennis Moon said. “I’m afraid, next year, we’re going to have to start making some tough decisions.”

The highly touted 2018 Street Improvement Project, which will call for construction from Calhoun Street to University Drive, was discussed on Monday night. Several bids were received until Gunther Construction was selected to complete the project.

Since the combination bid offer was significantly higher than the construction estimate, the city of Macomb negotiated with the company and recently came to a compromise. According to Public Works Director Scott Coker, the city made several changes in the project in its effort to drive the cost down to a more reasonable number of $400,877.

“We feel that’s a doable number within our budget to complete the project,” Coker said.

Leery, the unplanned adjustments will backfire on the city, Moon voted no on the motion, which was carried with a vote of six to one.

Giving a lengthy presentation on the town’s water facilities and future were Maurer Stutz and Keith Plavec, business partners in a consulting engineering firm.

Plavec explained that for each cup of water collected from Spring Lake, 20 percent of the water turns into waste after it runs through the water treatment system. It was also explained that Spring Lake might not be a reliable water source for Macomb in the future; 26 percent of the lake’s water was lost from May of 2016 to April of 2017.

Since Spring Lake cannot be expanded, several solutions were proposed.

One recommended solution was to adopt a new primary water source, while moving Spring Lake to the back-up source. One way to do that would be to look for a remote location to put a water plant, which would increase the overall water capacity to keep up with the community’s demand. Another solution was to put in a pump station next to the town’s water pump to decrease the amount of water that turns into waste.

In other business, the city fee schedule and the citywide clean up were also discussed.

Amending the city fee schedule was approved despite Alderman Gayle Carper voting no. The monthly increase has been discussed in depth in previous meetings. Residents of Macomb’s northwest quadrant will be given another opportunity to discard their unwanted items; in addition to May 14 -17, they will now also have Monday, May 21.

To cap the night off, Mayor Mike Inman received concurrence from the council on reappointing Al Reusch to the Macomb Police Pension Board and Ron Runser to the Macomb Zoning Board of Appeals. For more on Macomb, city council meetings are held each Monday at 5:15 p.m. in City Hall.