City Council moves forward with Northward Square

By Kendra Hennis 
After much anticipation for the building site, the Tuscola City Council has approved Mike Carroll to break ground for Northward Square Estates. The Estates will be built in the square lot between Indiana, Overton, Sale, and Niles, where North Ward Elementary School once was. The Estates will be aimed more toward “empty nesters”, those 55 and older hoping to downsize. The lot will be comprised of thirteen single-family homes, a one or two-story condominium, and a common area in the center. The plans are set to begin building in November. 

Previously, the City Planning Commission at their meeting on Oct 3 recommended the final plats of Northward Square Estates for approval. Their recommendations included approval with two waiver requests including: reduced setbacks of 20 inches front and rear and 6 inches on the side, instead of the normal 25 inches by 8 inches that is required, and the elimination of water and sewer laterals to the property line, since they are planning on creating a common area in the rear with easements for access. City Council has approved the plot with these waiver requests.

City Council also approved Jack Ledbetter to install a logo windscreen on the outfield fence on the north diamond. Ledbetter and the council worked together to reach compromise to benefit all, without having the signs in the way of spectators. Two signs, one saying ‘Tuscola’ and another saying ‘Warrior Softball’ will be hung on each side in the outfield. Ledbetter said that, (these additions) “will be aesthetically pleasing with all of the improvements that have already been made there.” All funds for the signs were fundraised by Tuscola Softball. 

City Treasurer Alta Long presented her Treasurer’s Report as well as the TIF delinquency report. Long said that “the opinion on page two is the bottom line of the audit, and the auditor gave us a clean opinion, which is that the financial statements, he believes are presented fairly. So, that’s about as good as it gets on audit terms. You either get clean or bad stuff, and we didn’t have any bad stuff.”

City administrator Hoel also presented the property tax levy estimate. Hoel encourages a gradual increase of higher taxes due to the current economic conditions, the pending increase in minimum wage, and the decrease in sales tax revenue. The council is looking at an increase of 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent. This will be further discussed at the next meeting with percentages to show what the increase will look like. 

The Council also: 

* Approved the minutes from the meeting on September 26.

* Approved the Veteran’s Day parade route. The parade is set for November 11 at 10:15 a.m. beginning at Ervin Park and ending at the Veteran’s Memorial at the Douglas County Courthouse. 

* Approved the SAM Food Pantry Pick-up on October 26, 2019. 

* Approved Kiwanis collection on November 15 and 16.

* Accepted Dwayne VanCleave’s intent to retire as the Sewer/Water Operator. Interviews are being held and a new Sewer/Operator should be found by the October 28 meeting. 

* Approved the community building with a lease with alcohol for a birthday party for Fabian and Maira Mayela Herrera. 

* Approved insurance renewal with Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association for their min/max agreement. 

* Approved insurance renewal with Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association for $140,624.36. Approved insurance renewal with Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association for their min/max agreement. 

* Adjourned until the next meeting on Monday, October 28 at 7 p.m. with a public forum. 

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