By Kendra Hennis
The meeting of the Tuscola City Council was called to order on Monday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. with all members present.
During the consent agenda, the council approved the schedule of events for Sparks in the Park on July 9 in Tuscola. Events kick off at 6:45 a.m. with registration for the Firecracker 5K Run/Walk. Registration will be held from 6:45 to 7:15 a.m. at the north pavilion. The American Legion Pancake Breakfast will then be held from 7 to 10 a.m. The 3 on 3 basketball tournament will then begin at 9 a.m. at the south end of Ervin Park. Registration will be held from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Tuscola Woman’s Club will then be holding their annual cake walk at 12 p.m. at the south south pavilion. At 2 p.m., the mud volleyball tournament will begin at the north end of Ervin Park. Teams need to be composed of six players and registration will be held from 1 to 1:30 p.m. The Kitchen Band will take the stage at 2 p.m. at the south pavilion. Following, the Tuscola Community Band will perform at 4 p.m. at the south pavilion. The annual fireworks display will then be held at dusk at Ervin Park.
T.K. Martin Memorial Post 10009, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States will be holding the Patriot Walk Parade will be held on July 4, beginning at 1 p.m. Lineup will begin at the Ervin Park exit at 12 p.m., travel east on North Line to Main Street, head south on Main Street to Van Allen. At Van Allen, the route will turn east and head to the Courthouse, entering to the east of the building in the parking lot. Any and all are welcome to participate in the Patriot Walk. This can include those wishing to walk, ride, or drive. Licensed golf carts and the like are welcome. It was noted that as the day is dedicated to celebrating Patriotism within our community and the nation, flags and other festive decorations are encouraged.
The council additionally approved a set of dog park rules for the Kelly Lock Dog Park. It was noted that City Administrator Drew Hoel met with a group of community members and experts in the area to create the rules. Please report violations to 217-253-2112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dog Park Rules include:
* Dog owners are responsible for their pets and agree to assume full risk of any injuries, damages, or loss connected with or associated with the use of the Dog Park.
* Dogs must have current vaccinations and County registration tag.
* Dogs must be leashed while entering and exiting the park. Owner must have a leash at all times.
* Dogs may not be left unattended or out of sight range or voice command.
* Owner must be 16 or older.
* Children must be 8 or older and accompanied by an adult.
* Dogs that exhibit vicious, fierce, or aggressive behaviors are not permitted in the park.
* Female dogs in heat are not permitted in the park.
* Dogs less than 4 months old are not permitted in the park.
* Owners must immediately pick up after their dog.
* People food, dog food, or dog treats are not allowed in the park.
* Limit of three (3) dogs per owner per visit.
* The Dog Park is intended for dogs only.
* Dogs, owners, and users violating posted rules may be banned from future use by City Personnel or Police.
Then, the council set the date for the Annual Appropriations Ordinance Availability and Public Hearing prior to the July 11 City Council meeting. The drafted ordinance is available for public review at City Hall as well as on the city’s website. The council will also take formal action on the proposed ordinance at any time following the public hearing on July 11, but no later than the end of July.
Following, Mayor Dan Kleiss gave his report to the board. He thanked all of the city employees for all of their hard work getting the swimming pool open. It was noted that the street department crew did their normal tremendous job of getting the pool emptied, cleaned, filled and operating again. City Hall staff also dealt with a tremendous surge of new employment paperwork and training, pool passes, supplies, and vending issues. The pool staff and management have overcome several issues with staffing and broken equipment. Building Inspector Mike Salmon has responded to several building needs and repairs. In his report, Hoel said, “It has been a very challenging month or so for all involved, but our staff has done a fantastic job!”
In his report following, Hoel stated that replacement of the pumps and variable frequency drives at the Sadorus pump station was scheduled to begin this week. However, it was determined that there was insufficient downstream valving to isolate the pump station completely, as downstream pressure could cause water to backflow into the station. He stated that a contractor has been identified who has procured parts, for installation of the valve next week. Once the valve is installed, replacement of the pumps should be able to begin the week of June 20. Hoel then explained that at intervals throughout this project, the Sadorus pump station will be offline a few days at a time. This will mean that the entire system will be without pumping capability and will have to rely on existing pressure and gravity flow. Engineers have examined this, and he believes that the city can coordinate demand of the various users and maintain satisfactory water supply from the several water towers in the system, which will then be refilled when pumping resumes. He then stated that it is possible, particularly in the event that things do not go according to plan, that the city could experience periods of low pressure, boil orders, or water restrictions. They do not expect these to occur, and they will take available steps to avoid them, but in the instance it does occur residents will be notified immediately via various media channels.
The council also:
* Approved the previous meeting minutes of the May 23, 2022 meeting.
* Approved the payment of bills in the amount of $189,869.40.
* Approved street closure for the Patriot Walk parade route on July 4.
* Approved street closure for the Sparks in the Park 5K Run/Walk route.
* Approved street closure for Sparks in the Park Fire Department display.
* Approved a pay request from B&T Drainage for Joint Agency Water Line in the amount of $189,933.40. These funds will be taken from existing Joint Agency Funds.
* Discussed moving the City Council meeting time to 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. Majority of the council seemed interested in the change and will vote at the June 27 meeting. If it is approved, the change in meeting time would not take effect until 2023, since notice of all regular meeting dates and times have been published.
* Approved a Resolution 2, concerning the review and release of executive session minutes and the destruction of executive session audio recordings. It was noted that this must be reviewed every six months and since then, no executive sessions have been held.
* Approved a wind turbine service and monitoring agreement with Power Grid Partners in the amount of $7,200. This is for the monitoring and repair of Northern wind turbines designated by serial number on the service order.
* Approved an amendment to the Engineering Services Agreement with Donohue in the amount of $12,100. This amendment is due to increasing fees from additional coordination with landowners and railroad permitting.
* Approved a proposal to furnish materials and approval of award to Earl Walker Co. for the Annual Oil & Chip Pavement Maintenance in the amount of $51,780. They are the same company that has performed the work for each of the last several years. It was noted that their bid of $51,780 is approximately 8.5 percent under the Engineer’s Estimate and comparable to recent pricing in neighboring jurisdictions.
* Approved the revised summer employment roster. Pool managers recommended appointment of four head lifeguards. They stated that this is necessary so that someone is in charge when a manager has to leave for any reason, including lunch break. It was noted that there have been designated head lifeguards in the past. The appointment also includes an increased hourly wage of $13/an hour. Head lifeguards include Mason Holmes, Tytus Rennert, Katie Smith, and Logan Wallace.
* Approved the Douglas County Health Department request to attempt to connect to city water/sewer. The Health Department is interested in examining the possibility of extending City water and/or sewer service to their facility on US Route 36 east of town. They will be paying any fees for extension and are first consulting an engineer to determine feasibility and expected costs. Before they did that, they wanted to see if the city would allow the connection in the event they do determine it feasible.
* Approved the appointment of part-time patrol officer Ryan Washburn with the City of Tuscola Police Department at a rate of $25/an hour. Officer Washburn is a certified law enforcement officer, with training/certification as Range Instructor, Juvenile Specialist, and School Resource Officer. He is currently employed full-time as a police officer in a nearby community.
* It was noted that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity recently announced the grant awards for the Community Development Block Grant Program, and the city’s application for $550,000 for water main replacements in the Meadowview Subdivision was approved. Hoel will be meeting with the project engineer very soon to discuss completion of design engineering and a timeline for bidding and constructing the project.
* Heard a request for waiver of RDA Terms for the Barker/Prairie Street TIF from Owen Tucker. Several years ago, the City entered into a redevelopment agreement with Tucker for the drainage improvements and subsequent home development in the area around Barker and Prairie Streets. One of the provisions of the agreement is that Tucker is obligated to build three homes per year, of at least 1,400 square feet, in order to generate sufficient increment to repay the City’s initial investment in drainage improvements and infrastructure. Tucker requested to the council that they consider changing their agreement to allow him to build smaller, energy efficient, solar powered homes to meet what he sees as the existing demand within the market. The council will continue to discuss the issue at further meetings.
* Approved adjourning until the June 27 meeting at 7:30 p.m.
* Editor’s Note: More information on Sparks in the Parks events can be found on the City of Tuscola’s Facebook page or at tuscola.org.