City Council moves forward with Ervin Park Improvement

By Kendra Hennis
The meeting of the Tuscola City Council began at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, July 13 with a public hearing to discuss the fiscal year 2021 appropriations ordinance. The ordinances have been posted on the City of Tuscola website and available at City Hall since June 22. There were no comments on the ordinances in person, submitted, or at the public hearing. The hearing was adjourned at 7:18 p.m. The regularly scheduled meeting of the Tuscola City Council was called to order at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 13. 

In new buisness, the council voted to move forward with the Ervin Park Improvement Project that is set to take place over the next year. The main components of the Ervin Park project are to upgrade the asphalt, sports field lighting, electrical, and acrylic surfacing of the new tennis and basketball courts. The purchase price approved by the council was $737,000, of which a significant amount of grants that were received will cover. Mayor Kleiss and City Administrator Hoel advised moving forward with the project while the city has the time and money to do so. If things go according to plan, new asphalt should begin to be laid by the end of this summer with the court restriping happening in the spring.

The council also approved an ordinance to resume to normal operation for utility billing penalties and shut off procedures. Their goal is to provide ample notice of the changes and allow more lenient payment arrangements for those who need to catch up. The department will begin to contact past due accounts individually by letter advising them of the return-to normal billing procedures and allow them the opportunity to make payments as necessary. As of August 20, March through July billing must be paid in full or at least half paid with a payment agreement in place for the remainder of the balance. Shutoffs will resume on August 20 for the bills due August 10 and for prior past due amounts that are not covered by payment agreement. There will be a 10 percent late fee penalty applied to August bills due on September 10. They will allow more than three payment agreements per year as well as some discretion and flexibility to extend additional terms to residents who make good faith efforts to pay current bills and catch up on past due amounts. 

The council also: 

* Approved the previous minutes of the June 22 meeting. 

* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $153,449.92. 

* Approved Tuscola Kiwanis Kids Day Collection on October 30 and 31. 

* Approved the closure of Lakeshore Drive for Ironhorse HOA Block Party on July 25, 2020.

* Approved the use of Wimple Park by Erin Ross for a wedding reception and tent on August 15, 2020. 

* Approved an ordinance making appropriations for corporate purposes of the City of Tuscola, Douglas County, Illinois for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2020 and ending April 30, 2021. 

* Approved a resolution of proposal to furnish materials and award to Earl Walker Company for Annual Seal Coat in the amount of $49,055.40.

* Approved a purchase from Midwest Meter for Galaxy Gateway Receiver in the amount of $7,000 to update the antenna on the water tower.

* Approved a purchase from Midwest Meter for Badger Beacon Upgrade in the amount of $10,000 to update the software on the antenna.

* Approved a purchase from Midwest Meter for software upgrades in the amount of $1,800.

* Approved adjourning to executive session to discuss land acquisition and personnel matters. 

* Approved the continuation of the Outdoor Dining Area outside of the Community Building through the end of August to be paid by Cast Iron Pub. 

* Approved the corrected fiscal year 2021 wage and salary schedule. 

* Adjourned until the July 27 board meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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