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Council approves funding to Joint Agency improvements

By Kendra Hennis 
The meeting of the Tuscola City Council was called to order at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 14 with all members present. 

The largest order of business was the council’s approval to join an intergovernmental agreement between Douglas County, the City of Arcola, and the City of Tuscola for a Water Main Project. The ordinance states that “Douglas County, Arcola, and Tuscola… desire to cooperate in areas of mutual interests pertaining to furthering the goals and objectives of providing clean, accessible, and affordable water in Douglas County.” It continues, “Arcola and Tuscola, through the Water Agency will replace water lines that are several decades old and are showing signs of deterioration and reduced water flow; and whereas, currently, water customers in Douglas County are experiencing decreased pressure and a reduction in reliable water supply; and whereas, the Joint Water Agency Main Project will provide for the addition of new water lines through the water agency that will improve the overall system hydraulics and improve reliable water supply and delivery to Douglas County users.” The agreement includes the use of $1 million in ARPA funding to the Joint Water Agency Main project. The total project cost estimate is $1,353,000, with Douglas County to provide $1,000,000 to the Joint Water Main Project act through American Rescue Plan Act funding and Tuscola, Arcola, and corporate partners funding the remainder of the project cost, currently projected to be $353,000. The Water Agency partners also agreed to make additional system upgrades at a cost of more than $300,000 using their own American Rescue Act funding. The project will have a bid opening date of Friday, February 18 and a special meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 22 at 5 p.m. to consider the bid award and contact authorization. The council also approved an engineering services agreement with Donohue to carry the project through bidding and contract administration for the amount of $24,300.

The council additionally approved the Tourism Board Annual Report. The report stated that while 2021 had its challenges, many normal activities were able to resume. Tourism hosted Sparks in the Park, Drive-Boo with the Tuscola Public Library, and Christmastown. The tourism board made note that they have been working very hard with their marketing, with billboards being added to town, ads to attract interstate travelers with what the town has to offer, and a focus on holiday advertising. Tourism also worked with their website provider, Cybernautics, to make some much needed upgrades to the website. 

The council also:
* Held a study session at 6:45 p.m. to review and discuss building needs in the police, street, and fire departments. They also discussed possible concepts to address those needs, funding approaches, and procedure steps and methods.

* Approved the minutes of the January 24, 2022 meeting.

* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $205,420.45.

* Approved a community building lease with alcohol for Miguel and Sandra Rivera for a Quincenanera on February 18-20.

* Approved $20,661 quote for water leak detection from Leak Detection Services. 

* Approved a quote of $8,975 from Straeffer Pump & Supply for the replacement of three check valves at the North Lift Station. 

* Approved the resignation of Jon Higar from the Tuscola Street Department effective February 11, 2022. Higar was wished well and thanked for his time serving for the city. 

* Approved the promotion of Jamey Mauzy to Water/Sewer Operator III. Mauzy recently received notification that he passed his Class 2 IEPA Sewer licensing exam, which qualifies him to be the Responsible Operator in charge of both the wastewater treatment plants. 

* Noted that a public hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 17 to recieve public comment on the ten year status report of the Barker/Prairie Street TIF.

* Adjourned until the special meeting on February 22 at 5 p.m. 

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