By Kendra Hennis
The meeting of the Tuscola City Council was called to order at 7:32 p.m. on Monday, December 14 with all members present.
Following the approval of the consent agenda, Mayor Dan Kleiss began his report to the council. He said that the live nativity scene at Ervin Park last weekend was beautiful and thanked the Tuscola Ministerial Alliance for putting it on. Kleiss also remarked that downtown Tuscola looked nice right now with all the decorations, especially the new addition of the Letters to Santa mailbox from Downtown Design Studio. He then thanked Chad Hausmann and Kelsey’s Furniture for their generous donation to a family in the community in need.
The 2020 Audit was then presented to the board by Curtis Root of Larsson, Woodyard, & Henson. Root reported a clean audit to the council. He thanked City Treasurer Alta Long for her hard work in completing the audit, noting that they only had to adjust minor things. Root then commented that the city was down $270,000 in sales tax revenue from last year, but $170,000 of that was from the state withholding funds. He reminded board members that they had different options with the levy that may increase the general fund. Root also said that the city currently has a year’s worth of cash spending in the bank as well as $3 million in savings. Root then reminded council members that TIF 1 and 2 in Illinois expire at the end of 2021. He ended thanking the council for their decision making thus far and thanked local businesses for working with them to navigate loans in relation to COVID-19.
Mayor Kleiss ended the meeting wishing all a safe and Merry Christmas! He noted some light at the end of the tunnel of COVID-19 with the first rounds of vaccines being distributed in the United States today. Kleiss also encouraged Tuscola residents to stay safe this holiday season with masks, lots of hand sanitizer, and social distancing in groups.
The council also:
* Approved the minutes of the November 23, 2020 meeting.
* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $620,435.58.
* Approved the pay requests from Barton Electric for Ervin Park Lighting in the amount of $69,971.30.
* Reminded those needing to file election petitions to do so this week at City Hall. The deadline for dropoff is December 21 at 4:30 p.m.
* Long noted the city’s financial progress over the years. In 2000, the city was $9.7 million in debt; in 2010, Tuscola was $4.6 million in debt; and the city is currently under $1 million in debt.
* Learned that City Administrator Drew Hoel is still working on finding the cause of the water loss issue. Their next step is to look into the costs of possibly replacing the water meter.
* Approved Resolution 3 concerning the review and release of executive session minutes and the destruction of executive session audio recordings.
* Approved the rejection of bid for the Ironhorse SSA for the Golf Course Drain Tile Project.
* Adjourned at 7:58 p.m. until the December 28 meeting at 7:30 p.m.