The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Aldermen drop fees for water meters at one-family houses

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  • By Patrick Stout
    City Administrator Dean Torreson asked Macomb aldermen Monday to amend a pending city ordinance by dropping water meter maintenance fees for any home zoned for single-family use.
    The ordinance was originally aimed at exempting family homes with three-quarter-inch meters. The city had always exempted residential homes with five-eighths-inch meters.
    Macomb had assessed a $3.56 monthly charge to its meter maintenance fund and then, if a meter broke, the city replaced it at no additional charge. The city will still charge a monthly maintenance fee for commercial buildings and for multi-family properties where more than three separate units are rented.
    Mayor Mike Inman assured residents of four-unit cluster homes on Pinecrest Drive that they would no longer be assessed the maintenance fee.
    "Anyone with a single meter dedicated to their home would not be charged no matter how many units are in the cluster," he said.
    Other business
    Aldermen also acted to accept bids on 20 surplus properties owned by the city. Operating under a law that allowed it to consider "the best interests of the city," the council's general government committee did not just consider the highest bids offered.
    "This is a slightly unusual style of selling properties. It's not just a traditional high bid choice," said Alderman Dave Dorsett, who is chairman of the committee.
    He later said the process employed by the city was endorsed by the Illinois Municipal League.
    As an example, the $150 bid by McDonough County Habitat for Humanity for 804 East Oak Street was accepted, though it was the lowest of four bids.
    "We have a good relationship with Habitat," Dorsett said, "and we want to encourage their work."
    At least 12 of the winning bidders live next door to the properties they made offers on and indicated they just wanted to add more green space to their yards. Another bidder chosen said he wants to build a house, another wants to build a garage, two want to build or expand parking lots, and one couple said they want to establish a community garden.
    Torreson told aldermen the agreement with Macomb City Township for rental of office space in city hall is up late next year, but the township would like to know the terms of any new agreement so the fee can be put into the 2013 budget. He suggested raising the rent from $750 to $900 per month, reflecting a shared cost for utilities and maintenance.
    The township has a 10-year agreement that it paid off in a lump sum in 2003. Torreson said it wants to do the same thing for the next decade and is prepared to pay the city $108,000.
    Torreson said it is to the city's advantage to have township offices in Macomb City Hall. He said the township's public assistance workers are supervised by city employees.
    Page 2 of 2 - The city administrator also discussed how $7.5 million in bond revenue might be handled. He said the council's public works committee wants to spend $500,000 on engineering design work for various street improvement projects.
    Torreson said another $5 million could be invested with local banks on short-term certificates of deposit. The remaining $2 million would be invested by Macomb's bonding consultant on the city's behalf.­­­
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