By Kendra Hennis
The Tuscola City Council passed the FY 2022 budget at the April 26 city council meeting. The council met prior to the April 12 city council meeting to hold a study session and ask any questions they may have had about the budget. There, city treasurer Alta Long noted that 2021 was not a good benchmark for operating costs due to changes in operation because of the coronavirus pandemic, so they referenced 2020.
Long went over the budgets for capital replacement, street department, the general fund, police and fire departments, pool department, and water department. Some of the equipment to be upgraded in the upcoming year includes a new Impala Police Squad Car, a 2007 Ford F450 for the Public Works Department, park utility vehicle, billing/permitting/accounting Software Upgrade at City Hall, and a Toro ZTR Mower. This equipment will be paid for from the 2022 Equipment Replacement Fund.
The city will also be continuing to make improvements to Ervin Park using the OSLAD Grant, as well as adding a dog park with funds from the Dog Park Grant, and discussing a potential new playground. They will also begin the demolition and rebuilding of the collapsed street/police shed. Tuscola Fire Department will be getting the additions of new fire gear and EMS coverall replacements, and potentially matching funds for a Fire Brush Truck. Repairs and upgrades to the Tuscola Water Meter Station will also be completed and paid for out of funds from the water fund, as well as the purchase of Bulk Water purchasing interface.
Long then discussed how the city is expected to receive MFT bonds from the state for road repair, and that the city could use these bonds for capital projects. The city is planning on using these funds for a five-year road resurfacing project around Tuscola. Plans include the resurfacing of Parke, South Washington, North Central, and eventually Lakeshore Drive.
The council additionally approved the FY 2022 budgets for the library and tourism departments. The tourism department asked for an increase in advertising allowance to use for additional billboards for interstate travelers, a new computer, and an increased budget in community marketing for print and social media. They are also hopeful that community activities can soon return with restricted ease. The council additionally approved the FY 2022 Wage Schedule for City of Tuscola employees.