Tuscola City Council grants Mayor emergency powers

By Kendra Hennis 
The Tuscola City Council called their Emergency Meeting to order on May 16, 2020 at 5 p.m. Mayor Dan Kleiss declared a State of Emergency in Tuscola at 11:40 a.m. on Monday, March 16. Kleiss said he “felt it necessary to take action in regards to COVID-19 and that anything we can do to stop this we need to.” He then presented to the council Ordinance 2020-O-5, an ordinance related to the emergency created by the impact of the COVID-19 virus. The Tuscola City Council then unanimously approved this ordinance granting certain emergency powers to the Mayor for up for 30 days to ensure continued and effective local government response to the situation, and to help protect community members and public employees. 

Under the orders authorized section, there are a number of actions that the Mayor could enforce if needed during the state of emergency. From these actions, the City of Tuscola has enacted the following changes to its operations: 

Public Buildings 
City Hall, the Tuscola Senior Center, the Tuscola Community Building (open for Primary Elections on March 17, 2020) and all other City offices and facilities will be closed to the public until at least April 13, 2020, or until further notice. Citizens may call City Hall during business hours at 217-253-2112 for assistance. Emails may be directed to info@tuscola.org, and residents are encouraged to visit www.tuscola.org and The City of Tuscola Facebook page and/or Twitter accounts for additional information. 

The Tuscola Police Department will remain open, but citizens are encouraged to phone 217-253-2341 in lieu of walk-in visits, if possible. As always, please call 911 in the event of an emergency. 

Events scheduled at the Tuscola Community Building or Tuscola Senior Center have been cancelled. 

The Tuscola Library has been closed to the public until further notice. 

Water/Sewer Billing 
Customers are encouraged to pay bills online (tuscola.org/billpay), by mail, or by use of the drop box outside City Hall. In-person payments at City Hall will not be accepted for the time being. Late penalties will not be charged on delinquent accounts until further notice. 

Public Meetings
The regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council to be held March 23, 2020 is cancelled, as are all meetings of committees, subdivisions, and other bodies of the City of Tuscola, until at least April 12, 2020 City Council Meeting. 

The goal of these changes are to limit contact as much as possible and to “flatten the bell curve” of the virus spreading. At this time, Mayor Kleiss knows of no known cases in Douglas County at this time. He encourages the community to “stay calm and work together, we’ll get through this together.”

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m. 

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