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Tuscola City Council approves a Drive-BOO Halloween

By Kendra Hennis
The Tuscola City Council called their regularly scheduled meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. on September 28. 

The council received public comment from Joy Cordes, who said, “Hello City Council members, as you prepare to make your decision about Halloween please keep the safety of our school children in mind. Specifically, please discourage the downtown event where hundreds of kids and their family members flock to go trick-or-treating. While my own kids and I will be disappointed, this is a super-spreader event in the making that will inevitably end up seeping into the schools. The last thing we want is for our children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews to be quarantined because someone they are in class with contracted COVID while downtown, am I right? Please check out this website for festivities for activities on current CDC COVID Risk Level. You might be surprised to know Douglas County is in the Orange range, 2nd from the top level. This is not an end-all be-all list but a good starting point for the city to consider. Thank you for considering and have a great day.” 

On the topic of Halloween, the council agreed that they would not like to hold the downtown event as last year. Instead, Tuscola Tourism has developed a Drive-BOO trick-or-treating event. Drive-BOO will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Halloween and is a socially distanced Halloween for families to enjoy, allowing kids to trick-or-treat safely from their car window. Families will drive slowly through Ervin Park to a series of stations decorated by local businesses and community organizations. Participants will stay in their vehicles but are encouraged to dress up and decorate their cars if they would like. To keep traffic controlled, members of the Tuscola Fire Department will be stationed at the entrance, exit, as well as inside the park. Each station will have 1-2 volunteers wearing masks and handing out candy. All social distancing guidelines will be observed, guests must stay inside vehicles, all candy and treats will be wrapped, all candy handlers will be wearing gloves, the speed limit is reduced, and sanitizing stations are available. Trick-or-treating hours in Tuscola are also from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Halloween. Mayor Dan Kleiss asked residents who are trick-or-treating to please observe these hours and only go to houses with their lights on. 

City Administrator Drew Hoel then talked to the council about the results of the water loss study. Over the last two years, the city has seen water loss in excess of 25 percent, with some months reaching highs of 35 percent. Normally, water loss is in the range of 10 to 12 percent due to unaccounted use and meter lag. No previous efforts have resulted in answers as to what is causing the water loss. Earlier this week, the city received the draft report from their consulting engineers concerning the ongoing high rate of water loss in Tuscola’s distribution system. Their findings confirmed suspicions that the town’s water supply has been “backflowing” water through our meter station. In other words, water flows through the Tuscola master meter station and into our distribution system and/or tower, but then later backflows when upstream supply and downstream demand creates a lower pressure on the supply side than what exists from Tuscola’s tower. The original design was adequate for conditions however conditions have changed in the last 25 years and the city will need to make upgrades to the meter station. Hoel will be meeting with engineers soon to discuss possible methods and costs to achieve this and will bring them to the next council meeting. 

The council also: 

* Approved the minutes of the September 15 regular council meeting.

* Approved the August 2020 financial report.

* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $135,283.01. 

* Learned that nominating petitions for city council are available at City Hall. All information is included inside of the packet and can be returned to City Hall between December 14 and 31. 

* Learned that The Red Barn and Eddie Boutilier are making payments on the TIF Delinquency Report. 

* Adjourned until the October 13 city council meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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