EAST TAWAS – By a vote of 7-0, the East Tawas City Council passed an ordinance adopting the 2018 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code at its regular meeting on June 17. 

The code regulates and governs “the conditions and maintenance of all property, buildings and structures; by providing the standards for supplied utilities and facilities and other physical things and conditions essential to ensure that structures are safe, sanitary and fit for occupation and use;…” 

The ordinance also addresses condemnation and demolition of such structures in the city, and repeals Chapter 6 Article II of the 1990 East Tawas Property Maintenance Code.

The vote took place after the second reading of the proposed ordinance. City Manager Brent Barringer informed the council that his office has received no feedback since the first reading, which was held at the June 3 meeting. At that meeting, Barringer said the new ordinance will help combat blight in the city.

Barringer notified the council that TPA Chief Mark Ferguson, who was unable to attend the meeting, has selected a candidate for the police officer position, and is preparing a conditional offer.

On behalf of East Tawas Fire Chief Bill Deckett, Barringer announced an event at the Fire Station. “Booked for Lunch,” where children bring their lunch to the station and hear stories read to them, will take place Thursday, June 20, at noon.

Barringer also commented on recent complaints about towing services in the county. He said that the policies are being reviewed, and advised anyone who experienced problems with towing services to put their complaints in writing so that they may be “addressed appropriately.”

The city manager also reported on the progress of the Evans Street project. The water main is almost completed. Barringer said that a problem had been uncovered during the project which required that a liner be installed in clay pipe sections below the railroad tracks. Fortunately, the city was able to hire a private company to resolve the issue, at a minimal cost of $12,000. Other options would have cost twice that amount, and taken double the time to complete the task.

DPW Supervisor Rodney Collier said that the “water mains were totally tested, chlorinated, and in service.” He added that residents in the first and third block of Evans were receiving water service, and the second block was almost finished. Collier also noted that the pavement on the first block of Evans was nearly complete. The goal for completion of the project is July 4, Collier said.

Collier brought some pieces which his department examined from other areas of the water main to the meeting. He said that everything is “holding up well.”

Barringer commented on the value of having good relationships with local contractors. He said that a sinkhole had developed on US-23 across from the Evans Street project due to the failure of a clay pipe. Barringer cited City Sewer and John Henry, contracting companies at the Evans Street project scene, who were able to help resolve the issue in a short time without losing any lanes on US-23. Collier added “It’s good to have partnerships like that,” he said.

Parks Manager Keith Frank reported that 11 applications have been received for the position of assistant parks manager. He said that a selection committee has been formed to review the applications, and that he expects them to meet on the matter after July 1.

High winds during the storm on June 14 caused the beach at the campground to fill with water. Frank said that the water dissipated over the weekend. He reported that his department is looking at ways to remedy the situation from recurring.

A surprising discovery was found on June 17 at the restroom construction site, Frank said. An underground fuel storage tank was uncovered in the process of preparing for the installation of footings for the new facility. According to Project Manager Mike Russo, the tank was 18 feet long and six feet wide, and had liquid in the bottom of it. Frank said that they were under the impression that the tank had been removed years ago. He added that he has a call in to Applied Eco-Systems, Inc. to discuss the matter. There were no signs of contamination.

City Clerk/Treasurer Julie Potts reported that prepayment arrangements have been completed for the purchase of the new fire truck, and outlined the internal budget process for the transaction. Deckett arrived at the meeting later to inform council that the Tawas City Fire Department’s request to purchase a similar truck was approved by its city council that evening. The package purchase of the two trucks will have an effect on the total costs to both cities.

Barringer gave a financial update on the Evans Street project, noting that a budget amendment will be necessary, as additional costs were incurred for contract services and professional services. A transfer from prior year funds will also be necessary to bring the accounting for the project into balance.

The Tawas Utility Authority (TUA) budget was approved by the council. Barringer said that the city’s contribution to the TUA is being reduced from $450,000 to $400,000 at the request of the city of Tawas City.

A transient merchant permit request was conditionally approved by the council. Michael Raines of Southwestern Advantage will be offering educational materials on a house-to-house basis in the city between July 1 and July 20. The conditions required for approval by the council were that he limit his contact times to between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., and provide evidence of proper liability insurance coverage.