MACOMB — Aldermen were told Monday that the city's community development office is getting ready for those who allow weeds and grass to grow beyond six inches in height. Community Development Coordinator Ray Heitner said bids have been received from yard maintenance companies that will mow the lawns if property owners will not. He said Sully's Lawn Maintenance of Prairie City has offered to do the work for $40 per hour, and S&G Lawn Mowing of Blandinsville has offered to work for $45 per hour.
Heitner said S&G has had the city contract for the past two years. If Sully's gets the contract this time around, it will be for two years with an option for a third.
S&G received $50 per hour in 2017 and worked for more than 179 hours. Heitner said the city paid the service $8,950. "We do end up collecting the fee from some homeowners," he said. "For others, we have to place liens on their property."
The city gives property owners five days' notice that grass has to be mowed, and a crew is sent in if this isn't done. Heitner said property owners who fail to mow after two incidents have their yards automatically mowed every two weeks and are billed by the city.
Mayor Mike Inman announced that the city's waiver of any sticker requirements on curbside yard waste will soon be coming to an end for this season. He said the last day will be May 3.
Aldermen also discussed a proposed ordinance to allow alcohol consumption at the Spring Lake Campground. City Attorney Kristen Petrie said the campground would join three other city-owned locations where drinking is allowed.
The difference is that alcohol served at Macomb City Hall, the Western Illinois Museum, and in city parks is done through issuance of a special event permit. At Spring Lake, it will be done through a written request as part of campsite or cabin registration.
Ryan Hansen, whose company manages Spring Lake for the city, said the state requires him to collect camper information, so he would just include any alcohol consumption request. Following the city council's committee of the whole meeting, Hansen emphasized that there is to be no alcohol consumption by those boating on the lake, and that anyone wanting to serve liquor at a shelterhouse gathering must get a special event permit from the city.
For those who wish to drink while living in a cabin or on  a campsite, Hansen said, "They must be at least 21 and they can't be disturbing their neighbors."
Aldermen received a request from Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker to purchase a Ford Police Interceptor and a Dodge Charger. He said Woodrum's Automotive has agreed to match the state bid price and will offer a trade-in value of $9,500 for three older vehicles from the police fleet.
Barker said the total cost for both vehicles is $49,000. "This purchase was already approved and the money is in the new city budget," he said. "I'm now seeking authorization."
Mayor Inman said funds will come from the Macomb Police Protective Fund and not from the city's general fund. The city council will act on the police chief's request at its May 7 meeting.

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