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Aldermen Amend Budget Before Approving It

Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen changed the city's next budget before approving it during their April 19 meeting.

They voted 7-to-1 to transfer $15,000 from the cable TV fund to the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation (MAEDCO). The budget originally called for cutting in half the city's $30,000 contribution to MAEDCO.

Fourth Ward Alderman Mike Inman made the motion to amend the budget. He said this is the wrong time to cut MAEDCO's funding.

"We're in the middle of a recession here and MAEDCO is one of our primary means by which to generate economic development and jobs," said Inman.

Inman says the transfer will have a minimal impact on the cable TV operation that records local government meetings.

Second Ward Alderman Ed Lavin voted against the amendment.

"One of these days the city will have to stop subsidizing different organizations," said Lavin.

He is concerned about Governor Pat Quinn's proposal to cut the amount of income tax revenue the state shares with local governments. Macomb stands to lose an additional $463,000 in state money if that plan is approved.

"We're gonna have to be laying people off (if that happens)," said Lavin. "I think everybody is gonna have to start tightening up their belt buckles and I just felt now was the time to try to make a stance."

Macomb's new budget projects spending of $28.2 million. That's a $1.6 million increase from the current fiscal year.

The new fiscal year begins May 1.

Concerns About The Census

Some early figures are in from the US Census. They show Macomb is once again struggling to get responses from the areas on and around the Western Illinois University campus.

The response rate is just 57% in the city's northwest quadrant, which includes the university.

The reponse rate is 83% in the southeast quadrant, 74% in the southwest quadrant, and 73% in the northeast quadrant.

Mayor Mick Wisslead hopes the numbers improve once a special canvass is completed in the northwest quadrant.

"There will be some people knocking on the doors. The unfortunate thing is that they will be knocking on every door because they don't know exactly who has sent in (a census form) and who hasn't. So bear with them because we're really trying to get a complete count," said Wisslead.

Wisslead said Macomb's overall response rate is 71%. The state average is 72%. The national rate is 69%.