TAWAS CITY – The Tawas City Council recently discussed the various options if the city’s operating millage were to be adjusted up or down from the current rate of 18.2216.

However, among other business during their May 20 meeting, they took action which will keep the millage rate as is for the coming fiscal year.

City Manager Annge Horning explained that an L-4029 form must be filed annually with the Michigan Department of Treasury, authorizing the rate for the city’s operating millage.

She pointed out that any changes to the millage rate would have required adjustments to the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 year, which was also on the agenda that evening.

Since no changes were made to the rate, the council authorized Horning to sign the form as presented. This includes the voted millage of .4700 for mosquito control, so the total amount to be levied is 18.6916.

In related matters, officials unanimously adopted two different resolutions approving the budgets for the coming year, which will go into effect on July 1.

The estimated revenues of all funds combined is $8,443,320, with appropriations approved in the amount of $8,321,474, for a net of revenues/expenditures totaling $121,846.

The general appropriations resolution which was adopted pertains to the revenues and expenditures of the city’s general, major street, local street, mosquito control and library funds.

The special appropriations resolution relates to the general obligation limited tax (GOLT) refunding bond series 2017, sewer fund and water fund.

As for the general fund – which accounts for the majority of public services provided to the community – both revenues and expenditures for 2019-2020 are expected to total $5,970,147.

Of the estimated revenues, the greatest contributor will be $3,562,000 in state grants. As reported, the city has been approved for funding toward the pier rehabilitation at Tawas City Shoreline Park.

Other significant sources of general fund revenue include property taxes, $1,032,820; a transfer from reserves, $554,428; fire contract fees, $162,222; constitutional sales, $161,244; and street equipment rental, $140,000.

General fund income will also be realized from such sources as franchise fees, refuse collection fees, property tax administration fees and more.

As for appropriations, the largest chunk is being dedicated to parks and recreation needs, totaling $4,181,622.

Of this amount, $3,930,000 will be utilized for capital outlay. Other parks and recreation expenditures include contractual services, $126,000; personal services, $51,000; and Veterans Recognition expenses, $15,000.

The next greatest appropriation in the general fund is the $387,965 for the city’s Department of Public Works, which accounts for such items as personal services, pension and insurance costs, capital equipment/tools, vehicle and equipment repairs, supplies, uniforms, fuel and more.

Other large expenses in the general fund include $290,760 for police services, $225,517 for fire department costs and $129,616 for city hall administration.

Further appropriations for the coming year include costs associated with the following:

Assessor, $93,290; city manager, $76,903; rubbish collection/disposal, $74,000; clerk, $60,652; treasurer, $50,450; street lighting, $43,000; planning, $33,500; building and grounds, $32,465; city council, $21,425; and cemetery, $16,525.

For 2019-2020, the city’s major street fund shows revenues of $582,472, and expenditures totaling $582,465.

A transfer from reserves in the amount of $302,060 accounts for the largest revenue source, followed by State Act 51 funds, $193,167; other state grants, $38,000; and trunkline, $30,000.

Expenditures are expected to consist of $322,100 for bridge maintenance, $170,430 for routine maintenance, $30,855 for trunkline winter maintenance, $28,255 for winter maintenance, $19,125 for trunkline routine maintenance, $9,000 for traffic signs/signals and $2,700 for audit fees and general insurance.

Estimated revenues for the city’s local street fund are $326,161, while appropriations are $326,160.

Contributions from the general fund in the amount of $100,000 will be the largest source of revenue in this fund, followed by other state grants, $87,000; State Act 51, $75,271; a transfer from reserves, $55,290; miscellaneous, $6,000; other state revenue, $1,500; and interest, $1,100.

The greatest expense in the local street fund is the $296,755 designated for routine maintenance, with other costs stemming from such items as winter maintenance.

As for the mosquito control fund, the approved budget for 2019-2020 shows estimated revenues of $31,358, and expenditures totaling $24,000.

The city’s library fund is expected to receive $48,600 in revenues, of which $45,000 will be generated from district library revenue sharing.

A $3,000 transfer from reserves, along with $600 in interest will account for the remainder.

Library fund appropriations in the amount of $48,260 have been approved, with the largest expense, $31,000, dedicated to personal services.

Other expenditures include vacation, sick and holiday pay; contractual services; building repairs; utilities; and insurances.

In terms of special appropriations, the GOLT is expected to see both revenues and appropriations totaling $126,712, with the sole source of income being a contribution from the general fund.

The outlined expenditures are $105,000 for principal payments, $21,212 for interest payments and $500 for miscellaneous.

The city’s sewer and water funds are enterprise funds, meaning the money isn’t generated from property taxes and so on, as is the case with the general fund. The revenue stems from fees charged by the city for these services.

Sewer fund revenues have been approved in the amount of $741,920, of which $698,000 will come from sewer charges. Connection fees, miscellaneous, penalties, interest and a $14,820 transfer from reserves is expected to make up the remainder.

The appropriations, totaling $741,915, include Tawas Utility Authority costs, $400,000; personal services, $103,300; contractual services, $65,000; depreciation expenses, $50,000; and other repairs and maintenance, $37,000.

Water fund revenue is anticipated to be $615,950, which is comprised of water sales, $565,000; miscellaneous, $26,000; interest, $16,000; penalties, $8,000; and connection fees, $950.

Of the $501,815 expenditures, the largest cost will be the $150,000 which has been designated for operation and maintenance services through Huron Shore Regional Utility Authority.

Some of the other appropriations have been allocated for personal services, $95,300; depreciation, $95,000; contractual services, $40,000; and maintenance supplies and equipment, $36,000.

In separate business, Horning gave an update on the street paving grant which, as reported, the city recently applied for through the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“This was the first year they had this grant and out of 440 qualified communities, they received 160 applications totaling $25,247,947. They only had $3,000,000 appropriated so there were many applicants who did not receive funding,” Horning stated.

She said she has asked for the scoring criteria and for Tawas City’s score, to have a better understanding of what needs to be worked on or included in future applications.

“We will plan to apply for the grant again in the future and will move forward with resurfacing the streets in accordance with our Major Street and Local Street resurfacing plans in the meantime,” she added.

In other matters, Mayor Ken Cook proposed an idea to the council regarding two parcels acquired by the city –  the office of Dr. Devendra Sharma and the former Bait Shop bar – located next to Shoreline Park on US-23.

Following completion of the purchase of Sharma’s office, Cook said the proposal is to build a performing arts facility on the site of the current parking lot between the office and the bar.

He stated that a facility of this type would offer a performing arts venue for local residents, as well as be a draw into the community for visitors.

“The ability to hold music and theatre functions would bring a whole new user to the park and attract a different demographic than the beach users, children’s playscape users and arts/crafts show patrons,” Cook continued.

“As we attract people to our city, we increase its viability as a place to live and shop, thus increasing jobs and demand for housing,” he stated.

“I would hope the trickle down effect of the efforts like this by the city is the continued private development across from the city park, redevelopment of the motel district on the south end of town, and the development of single family homes and apartments on the 100 acres,” he added.

According to Cook, this information has been presented to the planning commission, and was also discussed during the council’s latest budget workshop.

If officials are interested in the project, he said his suggestion at this point is only to support the design/planning costs. As they look further into it, decisions can be made on budgeting, what funding sources there may be for actual construction and so on.

Councilman Jon Studley said he thinks the bandshell style venue is ideally suited for the area of land the city purchased.

His motion to get proposals for a conceptual design of the potential facility passed unanimously.

In separate action, officials also addressed the following:

• Voted to pay the final invoice of $43,617 to Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering for the company’s work on the Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater grant for the city. The motion was contingent upon the city receiving copies of all of the final documents.

• Held a closed session to discuss privileged attorney information regarding a lawsuit.

• Were advised by Horning that the deputy clerk/treasurer position has been filled by Denise Hanley – formerly the deputy treasurer in Rose Township – who owns a home in East Tawas and has been wanting to move to the area for quite some time.

• Discussed the possibility of placing No Wake Zone signs along Tawas River, in addition to the two which already exist. The topic will be talked about more at a future meeting, once further research is conducted into the exact placement of the signs and the possible number of signs to be purchased.

There were a handful of Tawas River property owners who attended the meeting and expressed such concerns as motorized boats speeding through the area.