MACOMB — Mayor Mike Inman said Monday that he was proud that four Macomb banks underbid a national contractor in efforts to finance a four-year loan to cover purchase of a $342,000 jet vacuum machine for use in sewer operations. The city council voted to accept the low bid offer of First Bankers Trust to finance the loan at 4.39 percent interest and to offer the city a two-year buyout option if desired.
City Administrator Dean Torreson said Macomb would pay $31,552 in interest over the life of the loan. If it runs the full four years, the city will pay $7,075 per month. Torreson said Macomb should receive the new machine on Wednesday.
The council also voted to adopt an ordinance creating a package liquor license for the new CVS Pharmacy opening in September at 327 East Jackson Street. A public hearing and ordinance first reading was held on a package liquor license for Haymakers, a convenience store to be built by Niemann Foods at 101 South Dudley Street.
Dave Riney of Niemann Foods told aldermen that the store footprint would be 7,500 square feet. He said liquor sales volume is anticipated to be half that sold by the former County Market, whose size totaled 20,000 square feet. Riney said Haymakers will have hours of 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and should open sometime next spring.
Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry told the city council that there were 15 applicants for summer small business development workshops. She said 7 dropped out after the first couple of sessions and the other eight completed all workshops and drew up business plans.
Terry said she recruited five judges to evaluate the business plans, and another five to evaluate live business pitches given recently at The Forum. Forgottonia Brewing won a building location on North Lafayette Street and a $2,500 incentive package for its planned microbrewery.
An audience of 250 people attended the business pitches. "The enthusiasm of that crowd was overwhelming," said Torreson. "It displayed an optimism about this community."
Alderman Dennis Moon, who served as one of the judges, said, "We were all surprised by the enthusiasm and the number of people who came to support the different competitors."
Mayor Inman said enthusiasm on the part of the applicants never waned throughout the 9-month project timeline. "I think they came to realize that Macomb understands what small businesses bring to the community," he said.
Terry said that four of the business applicants continue to work with her in exploring opportunities for their companies. She said the idea of a small business competition started regionally in Monmouth and, after Macomb's success, Carbondale and Jacksonville are interested in pursuing the idea.
The city council also accepted a June activity report from Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker. He wrote that there were 1,616 calls for service and that 119 arrests were made. There were three cases of thefts above $500, nine cases of thefts below $500, 10 burglaries, and six auto burglaries.
Barker said his department paid out more than $24,700 in police overtime in June. Training, court appearances, investigations, and narcotics cases took up the extra time needed.
                                                             
Reach Patrick Stout by email at pstout@mcdonoughvoice.com