Rentals and taxes discussed at Morenci council meeting 8.15

Written by David Green.

It’s been a while since rental housing dominated a city council meeting, but the topic was widely discussed Monday when two property owners spoke about the condition of certain structures in town.

For Larry and Jean Hardy, the problem is a combination of high taxes and low property upkeep.

The property that the Hardys most recently renovated is located next to the former Blanchard Hospital on N. Summit Street, a building that Larry Hardy says is a beautiful structure but in need of much repair.

“It needs to be condemned if it’s not cleaned up,” he said. “You need to call the health department.”

Hardy believes an increase in the number of rental units in recent years has had a negative impact on the city.

Council member Keith Pennington said there is no legal basis for controlling the number of rental units.

“We have to make the landlords accountable,” councilor Peggy Decker said. “Who would want to buy your house next to the hospital?” she asked the Hardys.

Mayor Russ Sutherland said that some landlords sell houses on a land contract and even some apartments are sold as condo units, thereby skirting the city’s rental inspection program. The land contracts often fall through and the property is back on the market again.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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