City Council approves TIF for Tuscola Packing Group

By Kendra Hennis 
The meeting of the Tuscola City Council was called to order at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 12 with all members present.

Following approval of the consent agenda, the council approved granting $120,000 in TIF Assistance to Tuscola Packaging Group for their move to 1304 Tuscola Boulevard. Tuscola Packaging Group is planning the big move to Tuscola after formerly being located in Arcola. They have leased the former Red Barn and plan to invest $310,000 in improvements for electrical upgrades, reconfiguration of interior space, and installment of loading docks. They plan to move their packaging operation to the majority of the building space, with their “sister company” Amity Landscaping to occupy the eastern storefront  position. 

Owner Zena Onstott said  they looked forward to their move to Tuscola, and looked at the location because there were no warehouses in Tuscola. She also noted that the move will hopefully add some jobs to the area. Mayor Dan Kleiss said that he “wished them the best” and that he “hoped things go great out there and continue to grow.” It was also noted that the Amishland TIF, unlike TIF 1 which contains most of the buisness district, does have an uncommitted fund balance sufficient for this grant. 

The council also made a contract authorization with Milano & Grunloh Engineers for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Public Infrastructure Grant Program. The Illinois Department of Commerce is accepting applications for the Public Infrastructure Grant until August 3, 2021. Low to moderate areas, as identified by Census tract, are eligible for grants up to $550,000 to cover 100 percent of construction costs for some infrastructure project, like water main replacements. Engineering and administrative costs are the local “match” responsibility, estimated at less than 20 percent of construction costs. City Administration Drew Hoel believes that there are some areas in Tuscola that are likely eligible, but will need to be confirmed by income surveys. IEPA construction permits need to be submitted and received in advance of the grant application, so in order to proceed the council approved the preliminary engineering and grant application of Milano & Grunloh Engineering of Effingham that they will complete at no cost. 

The council also:
* Held a study session at 6:45 to review a summary presentation of the entire budget document. From the meeting, they will take an input and finalize a draft. The final budget document will be presented at the April 26 city council meeting. 

* Approved  the minutes of the March 22 meeting.

* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $245,726.49.

* Approved a community building lease with alcohol for John and Cathy Mannen for a wedding reception on May 21-23. 

* Approved the Tuscola GSA Booster Club 5K Color Run/Walk and Pancake Breakfast for June 12, 2021. 

* Discussed and approved soliciting demo bids for the Old Street Shed Building.

* Discussed and approved soliciting of sealed bids for the sale of 111 E. Washington and 607 E. Wilson. 

* Mayor Dan Kleiss gave a shout out to Tuscola’s Sydney Hoel on her beautiful performance. He said that he has been lucky enough to see her perform a few times and that she is an extraordinary talent out of Tuscola. 

* Adjourned at 7:52 p..m. until the April 26, 2021 regular council meeting.

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