EAST TAWAS – By a 7-0 vote, the East Tawas City Council enthusiastically reappointed Bill Deckett to another term as the city’s fire chief, a post he has held since 1988. 

The vote was held at the council’s regular meeting held electronically on May 4. Deckett said that he joined the department in 1969.

Deckett reported that a “very thorough” virtual inspection of his department’s new fire truck has been performed, and that it would be transported from the dealer to East Tawas shortly. He added that a traditional ceremony will take place to put the new equipment into service.

Deckett noted that, due to the COVID-19 shutdown, fire training will be unable to complete final examinations for their students. Deckett expressed concerns about HAZMAT training being incomplete. 

At the same meeting, the council voted 7-0 to award a contract to replace the roof over the fire department’s apparatus bay to Universal Roofing of Linwood, which bid $17,853 for the job. The roof replacement was planned in the city’s capital improvement plan and advertised for bids. Five bids were received for the project.

City Manager Brent Barringer informed the council that Tawas Area High School (TAHS) banners honoring June graduates would be available this week. Barringer noted that the East Tawas Business Association (ETBA) has expressed interest in working with TAHS to hold an outdoor graduation ceremony in light of COVID-19 restrictions making traditional rites impractical. Councilmen Craig McMurray and Dave Leslie, as well as Mayor Bruce Bolen lauded the gesture, with an eye toward safety in holding such celebrations.

Mayor Bolen acknowledged receipt of an email from Ariana Conklin, secretary of the ETBA, which updated readers about business activities in the city. Conklin said that Tuesday Night Live is still scheduled to run as normal, and flowers will be planted downtown in order to be ready for Memorial Day. She also said that the ETBA would be “picking up a large portion of ad costs” of a special group promotion in the Iosco County News-Herald when business is ready to resume, reminding people to “Support Local Business – Shop Local.” 

Council members discussed issues local merchants would be dealing with when reopening, and stressed the importance of flexibility in operations, especially when starting up. McMurray expressed concern about the supply chain, especially with respect to face masks and sanitizer, and wanted to see if the city could play a role to assist businesses.

DPW Supervisor Rodney Collier briefed the council on his department’s activities, including a forthcoming cemetery proposal, a progress report on park damage repairs, the completion of the hydrant flushing project in the city, the city compost facility, and summer help requirements. Collier noted that the RV park is open only for seasonal campers, and not for transients at this time.

Council voted unanimously to authorize the city treasurer to sign a previously-approved agreement for collection of summer property taxes for Tawas Area Schools.

A parcel of property located in the 400 block of Sawyer Street will be transferred under a tax foreclosure sale bid for development to Klenow Excavating, LLC. Both a resolution for the transaction and a development agreement were unanimously approved by the Council. Barringer said that the development is scheduled to begin this year and includes the removal of an existing block building and construction of a new single-family residence, which would take two years to complete at a cost of $180,000. He added that the purchase price would cover all of the city’s costs totaling $3,600 related to the property.

In anticipation of the expiration of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, Councilman Steve Klenow received contingent approval for remote attendance at the council’s second May meeting on May 18.