Morenci city council.2 5.14

Written by David Green.

No one from the public had any comment at a public hearing for the proposed 2008-09 city budget.

The spending plan calls for an increase of about $47,000 from a year ago, or about a two percent rise.

The general fund budget is expected to produce a contingency fund of $60,000 which will cover the $32,780 deficit shown in the audit for the year ending June 30, 2007.

“The changes we made were difficult, but they worked,” said council member Tracy Schell about personnel cuts made last year. “I’m glad to be moving in the other direction.”

Councilor Keith Pennington said the budget anticipates growth in real and personal property taxes of $19,000. The city will save about $12,000 through the change made in liability insurance coverage.

Pennington noted that significant cuts were made in two departments a year ago. Library funding was reduced by $10,000 last year and $5,000 will be restored this year.

Police department funding was also trimmed last year and a full-time officer was scaled back to part-time. The new budget calls for Frank Cordts to return to full-time duty. Money will also be set aside to help fund the expected purchase of a new patrol car in 2009.

Fire department funding will also be partially restored after cuts made a year ago.

LIBRARY—Council voted to hire Colleen Leddy as library director pending final approval of contract details. Director Elizabeth Stella will retire in June.

EMS—Council voted 6-1 to increase the EMS assessment by $7.50 a household to $82.50, as requested by the Morenci Area EMS board. The EMS agreement signed by the city and Medina and Seneca townships allows for an increase of up to 10 percent annually, however, this is the first increase since the service began.

Schell stated she was opposed to the motion because money will be placed in a contingency fund for use if needed.

Pennington said the board intends to put money aside each year and eventually purchase a new ambulance.

“But it’s not being placed in an equipment fund,” Schell said.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said it’s her understanding that the contingency fund is for a new ambulance.

CONFIDENTIAL—Council voted to accept a confidentiality agreement with ProMedica, owner of the former hospital and clinic buildings.

Pennington explained the agreement this way: Anything Promedica is discussing with council cannot be disclosed to the public. If any action was needed by council, that would be taken in an open meeting.

Mayor Doug Erskin said agreements such as this are common in the business world when “delicate information” should be kept confidential.

DONATION—Fire chief Chad Schisler told council about a $12,000 donation for the purchase of a Polaris Ranger 6x6 all-terrain vehicle.

The vehicle would be fitted for use in combatting field fires and could also assist  an EMS crew in rough terrain. The department is seeking donations for a trailer that could be used with the unit.

POLICE—With a part-time police officer obtaining a full-time job in the Michigan Center area, council hired a new part-time officer to take his place. Tera Cox from Michigan Center will join the Morenci department.

MEETING CHANGE—The next council meeting, when the budget will be up for approval, is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 19. The regularly scheduled meeting would have fallen on Memorial Day.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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