Imlay City honors its retiring manager for job well done
IMLAY CITY — The June 16 Imlay City Commission meeting was the last for Manager Tom Youatt, who officially retires on June 30.
But before bidding adieu, Youatt updated commissioners on the status of the new fire hall on E. Borland Rd., before they signed off on last-minute change orders and final payments to the project’s contractor, Superior Contracting Group, LLC of Dryden.
Youatt noted that the total cost for the fire hall will amount to a little less than $2.9 million, about $135,000 less than expected.
The original cost of the fire hall was expected to be more than $3 million, but the city qualified for a lower interest rate on its loan due in part to its A-plus rating from Standard & Poors.
Another matter up for discussion and action included seeking bid requests for scheduled street upgrades on W. Third St. (from Almont Ave. to Handley St.), W. Sixth St. (from Almont Ave. to Handley), E. Fifth St. (from Almont Ave. to Main), and S. Main St. from Third St. to Depot Drive. Bids are due no later than Wed., June 24 at 3 p.m.
A sizable number of city employees, former commissioners, Fire Chief Rick Horton and others were on hand to thank and offer their well wishes to Youatt.
Horton recalled having been notified of his appointment as fire chief by Youatt on Christmas Eve.
“That was very important to me and I appreciated the support,” said Horton. “We firefighters appreciate everything you’ve done for us, and especially for our new fire hall. Good luck to you and Kay, and thank you for your support.”
Also offering public thanks were former Mayor Walt Bargen, who recalled Youatt’s interview, when to Bargen’s recollection, he told commissioners he was going to be the “best manager in the State of Michigan.”
“Well, I think you’ve proved that you were the best,” said Bargen.
Quentin Bishop, Executive Director for the Lapeer Development Corp., shared his high opinion of Youatt.
“You’re a great professional and I wish you the best,” said Bishop.
Imlay City Mayor Joi Kempf read aloud a proclamation acknowledging Youatt for his contributions and for the leadership he provided the City of Imlay City over the past six years.
Kempf alluded to Youatt’s “remarkable management” that lead to “balanced budgets, excellent audit reports and a strong fund balance.”
“Tom has updated the City’s personnel policy, initiated the MML Job Description and Wage Study and negotiated numerous union contracts within the city,” said Kempf.
“He made huge strides maintaining our roads, including the Bancroft St. and N. Almont Ave. reconstruction; a successful street millage; numerous major street resurfacing projects and the First Street infrastructure project.”
Kempf’s proclamation also noted Youatt’s pursuit of grant funding, including a $1.7 million 2020 Infrastructure Project Grant, DEQ Scrap Tire Grant, a $224,000 Rural Task Force Grant and a $150,000 DNR Recreation Passport Grant for a splash pad project.
He also administered the M-53 Corridor Plan, M-53 Gateway Infrastructure Project, East Borland Water Main project, and the city’s 5-year Master Plan and 5-year Community Recreation Plan.
“Tom’s pursuit of a Fire Hall Millage and strong supervision has resulted in construction of an excellent fire hall that will serve the citizens of Imlay City for years to come,” Kempf said.
“The City of Imlay and its commission does hereby recognize, commend and sincerely thank Mr. Tom Youatt for his outstanding contributions and excellent service to the citizens of Imlay City, which he provided with integrity, honor and professionalism.”
The meeting concluded with a few tears of emotion, some fist-bumps, a handshake and some heartfelt words offered up by attendees and commissioners, followed by a few from Youatt himself.
“It’s been a pleasure to have worked with great people and to have had the opportunity to serve the residents of Imlay City,” said Youatt. “I appreciate the support I’ve gotten from our department heads, city office staff, the various commissioners and from two outstanding mayors,” he continued.
“To have been able to work together as a team in Imlay City is something we can all be proud of. Looking back at the past six years — and realizing now that it’s coming to an end, is difficult.”
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.