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Mayor Kleiss proclaims May 17 as Ruth Burris Day

By Kendra Hennis 
The meeting of the Tuscola City Council was called to order at 7:31 p.m. on May 9 with all members present. 

During his report, Mayor Dan Kleiss proclaimed May 17 as Ruth Burris Day in the City of Tuscola. Kleiss stated “Whereas, Ruth Burris has been a long-time resident of the great city of Tuscola, IL. Ruth and her late husband, Earl, raised two daughters, Linda and Susan–starting a proud family of Tuscolians. Ruth was born in Coles County, the only girl in a family of boys, but has lived and worked in Douglas County most of her life. Ruth remains an avid reader and follower of current events and has been an active contribuer of her church and her community. Friends and family describe Ruth as always friendly, caring, and interested in the well-being of others; as well as possessing a beautiful smile. Ruth Burris celebrates her 102nd birthday on May 17, 2022. Therefore, I, Daniel J. Kleiss, Mayor of the City of Tuscola, do hereby proclaim May 17, 2022 to be Ruth Burris Day in Tuscola, Illinois. Further, I hereby extend my best wishes to Ruth, and encourage her family and friends and all citizens of Tuscola to wish her a happy birthday.” 

In park news, the council approved a contract with American Patriot Pyro. Inc. proposed for the fireworks display for the City of Tuscola on Saturday, July 9 in the amount of $30,000. The council also approved a commercial real estate lease with Gina Romine for the pool concession area for 2022. Also approved was the revised summer employment roster.  Added employees include pool manager Taylor Harris ($15/hr); pool cashiers Jarrett Chouinard, Taylor Musgrave, and Sophia Kremitzki (12/hr); and Lenny Sementi with the Street & Park Department ($13/hr). 

In his report for the week, City Administrator Drew Hoel noted that crews are beginning to drain, clean, and refill the swimming pool this week. Training of new lifeguards continues, and the final group of seven are scheduled for testing this weekend. Managers will also be engaged with scheduling and preparation soon. Staff availability and weather could still impact their plan, but they hope to have an opening date of May 30. 

The council also: 
* Heard public comment from a concerned resident regarding the purchase of the old church across the street from the Douglas County Courthouse on Houghton  Street. They were concerned about the state of the building, their plans for the location, and concerns about if the funding for the project would have to be paid by taxpayers. Mayor Kleiss explained that while they do not generally respond to public comment, but that he would try to share what he knew. He noted that the area has been cleaned up a lot and that he is unsure who owns the property. Kleiss stated that currently the project has not had to go through the city, but he has heard that the project owners are hoping to get funding for the site via grants. Hoel also commented that for future parts of the project that the owners may have to get additional zoning approval from the city. 

* Heard a thank you from Tuscola Kiwanis Club for the approval of partial road closure of Forest Glen for the Easter Egg Hunt. 

* Approved the minutes of the April 25, 2022 meeting. 

* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $208,712.10.

* Approved a pay request from Main Street Construction for Dog Park Fence in the amount of $50,740.

* Approved a request to conduct fundraising from American Legion Auxiliary for poppy sales around Tuscola May 13-14. 

* Approved a community building lease with alcohol to Jessica Roberts for St. Jude’s Run Glow Bingo on June 3.

* Heard from Danielle Cruzan, the new Workforce Development/WOIA Program coordinator for Douglas and Piatt County.  Cruzan said that she recently joined the Champaign Regional Planning Commission and has been working to educate the area on the resources and services they provide. She noted that it is a federally-funded program with a lot of resources available to help job-seekers. The department services youth, adults, and dislocated workers in the area. Cruzan said that she is in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays and that more information can also be found on their website. 

* Approved a resolution for maintenance under the Illinois Highway Code. This will allow for Motor Fuel Tax funds to be allocated for the annual oil and chip. 

* Approved a Local Public Agency General Maintenance Plan with Engineering Agreement. 

* Approved an agreement to waive formal bidding for the purchase and trade-in of backhoe.

* Approved a contract with Birkey’s for the proposal of a 2022 Case 580SN backhoe with trade-in in the amount of $87,500.

* Approved a contract with Tuscola Home Center for the proposal of a Toro Model 72030 with trade-in in the amount of $12,946.

* Approved the acceptance of donation and release and indemnification of Equistar Chemicals, LP. 

* Approved an audit engagement letter with Larson, Woodyard, and Henson CPA’s in the amount of $23,900. There is also the possibility of an additional $2,500 in the event of a “yellow book” audit is required; and an additional $2,500 for an “In relation To” opinion. It was noted that both of these additional requirements will be necessitated due to receipt of various state and federal grants. 

* Approved a change order with Beniach Construction for pavement striping in the amount of $22,592.17.

* Approved adjourning until the May 23 meeting until 7:30 p.m.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on May 16, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Glad to see you’re proclaiming May 17th as Ruth Burris Day. She is a very sweet lady, so positive, and appreciative when I visit!! She’s always asking about people and what’s going on. I must add as well, her mind is still very sharp!! You can’t tell you’re talking to a person nearing 102!! I have been blessed to know her!!!

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