Council looks to approve budget at next meeting


Felicia Selmon/Courier Staff

Alderman Don Wynn led Monday’s meeting where City Attorney Kristen Petrie and City Administrator Dean Torreson discussed the budget and liquor licenses.

Steven Barnum , News editor

In a rare event, Alderman At-Large Don Wynn led Monday’s committee of the whole meeting with the absence of Mayor Mike Inman and Alderman At-Large Dennis Moon.

The council discussed issuing a liquor license to Forgottonia Brewing Company, a business expected to open at 324 N Lafayette St. in Macomb. A representative for the business said that it will primarily be a brewery and tap room. It will offer cold-brew coffee, house-made sodas and beer. They will not be making food at this location but will allow food from the outside to come into the brewery for sale.

There were no objections at the public hearing and the business has provided all necessary information, according to City Attorney Kristen Petrie, which indicates momentum toward a liquor license approval. The license would include on-site wine consumption and Sunday sales. The business, “Forgottonia” is in reference to the term used to call attention to the lack of state and federal funding to communities in rural Illinois. It is expected to open this summer.

The owner of “Dad’s Garage” would like to expand at a new location, 833 N Lafayette St. According to Community Development Coordinator John Bannon, the council would need to approve the addition of three bays. The owner of the business would also have to construct a fence within 90 days of moving into this location. Since there was no objection during the March 27 planning commission meeting, the decision will be up for approval at next week’s meeting.

The city’s contract with its designated physician will end in May, forcing the council to find a new doctor to perform exams for public officials. City Administrator Dean Torreson said that he emailed all local clinics to see if they would be interested in entering a service agreement contract with the city. Of the responses, the most sensible proposal was from the McDonough District Hospital. If approved, the exams would be performed by whoever is working as opposed to one specific doctor.

“In terms of the pricing, it’s very similar to what we have now,” Torreson said, “so I’m satisfied with that. The staff is also satisfied with this and I think it will serve the purposes at the same cost.”

The two-page agreement between the city and the hospital will cover contract length and standards to prevent violations of confidential information. This contract will be up for approval during next week’s city council meeting.

Macomb will need to rehabilitate its water treatment plant in the near future. Torreson said that there is $620,000 in available cash set aside for the project, which includes materials to improve the gravity and sand filters. The equipment was installed in the 1980s and needs to be replaced.

Water plant manager Kent Cox said that they will use in-house labor for as much of the project as they can. Sand filters will cost $325,000, installation costs will total $40,000, and replacing vacuum tanks will cost $31,000. The council will decide whether to collect bids on the latter two projects at a later date, but it must first approve the purchase of materials for $325,000.

Cox said that the funds for the project will not come out of this year’s budget and that the deadline to complete the regulated guidelines is October. Services are not expected to be interrupted at any point during the project.

“We really don’t have any choice, do we?” Alderman Tom Koch said, noting that the outdated system and regulations back the cityinto a corner.

For the last major discussion of Monday’s meeting, the council briefly talked about a repair project to S Johnson Street. Public Works Director Scott Coker said that the Macomb school district is moving forward with its plans to build a new school south of the high school. Thus, the city will hold a vote on moving back the planned repairs to Candy Lane.

Construction on the school will tentatively be completed by the fall of 2021. According to Coker, it would make sense for the city to wait to improve S Johnson St. until after the excessive traffic from the construction crew ceases. The improvement project could also include an 8-feetwide sidewalk.

Mayor Inman spent Monday testifying on behalf of Macomb in search of additional funding for the city during a time when it is desperately needed. A decision on the 2019/2020 budget will be on the agenda at next week’s city council meeting.