EAST TAWAS – The East Tawas City Council unanimously approved a recommendation from the wage and salary committee to increase wages for city employees at its regular meeting on Sept. 3. 

According to City Manager Brent Barringer, the 3.7 percent raise will cost the city approximately $20,500 in the next fiscal year. Councilman Craig McMurray noted that the measure, combined with last year’s increase, would bring city employees “up to a more competitive wage.”

Robert Kennedy appeared before the council on behalf of the Straits of Mackinac Alliance. Kennedy said that a panel discussion regarding the Enbridge Line 5 tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac will be held at the East Tawas Community Center on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and invited the public to attend.

Barringer informed the council that there is interest in having a four-way stop at the intersection of Newman and State streets in downtown East Tawas. Mayor Bruce Bolen expressed concern about an additional interruption in the traffic flow, while Councilman Dave Leslie mentioned the completion of the downtown restroom project as the only reason to consider a four-way stop at that location.

Additional discussions ensued regarding traffic delays at the intersection of US-23 and Newman Street. Councilwoman Lisa Bolen cited a need for a left turn lane on US-23, while Mayor Bruce Bolen pointed at pedestrian traffic as a frequent cause of interruptions in traffic flow. Councilman Mike Mooney inquired about the possibility of adding a left-turn arrow to help resolve the issue. Mayor Bolen and Barringer outlined procedures for coordinating with MDOT for planning such projects.

Fire Chief Bill Deckett reported that he would be going to Oakland County next Wednesday to witness the addition of Norm Klenow’s name to the Michigan Volunteers Memorial. Deckett added that Barb Klenow has been invited to attend a special ceremony in Lansing for her husband.

Deckett informed the council that air packs for his department have been delivered. He noted that the air packs arrived before the grant intended to pay for the equipment was awarded. Deckett assured the council that funds were available in the budget to pay for them.

In other matters before the council:

• Budget amendments for attorney fees, street lighting, planning and zoning, community development, contributions to the cemetery fund and routine maintenance were unanimously approved. Barringer told council that a full budget report will be forthcoming as the city nears the end of the current fiscal year.

• A transient merchant permit was issued to Jan Johnson to allow sales of T-shirts at last weekend’s women’s softball tournament.

• A resolution to execute a five-year contract with MDOT for snow removal and maintenance on US-23 was approved under the same terms as the previous contract.

• A bid from Progressive AE of Grand Rapids for a second aquatic weed cutting on Tawas Lake was approved by the council.

• Approved the appointment of Tim Freel to replace Kevin Smith on the housing commission.