Morenci city council grants abatements 10.29.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Three tax abatements for Palm Plastics were approved by Morenci city council members Monday.

According to city assessor Marty Marshall, standard 50-percent abatements will lead to a revenue gain of about $41,000 annually for the city when the company’s expansion is complete and production is underway.

Palm Plastics chief financial officer Todd Vanbynen told council members that six plastic pallet production lines are currently in operation and three more are coming. Some equipment for the manufacture of smaller products has been moved into storage to make room for the pallet division.

The three abatements include:

• $12.5 million for the new Palm facility to be built in the industrial park;

• $2.5 million for equipment now in storage that will be transferred to the East St. South location;

• $3 million for new equipment that will be located in the East Street South location.

The projects are expected to add 36 new jobs in Palm’s existing location on East Street South and from 80 to 90 jobs in the new facility within the first 18 months of production.

COUNCILORS’ ROLES—Following debate at a special meeting Oct. 23, council members voted Monday to accept a resolution regarding the working relationship of the council, mayor and paid staff. State law, the City Charter, city code, the employee handbook and employment contracts were reviewed.

A portion of the resolution states that:

“Council hereby interprets those governing documents to mean that individual council members, including the mayor, have no authority by virtue of their respective offices to govern the day-to-day activities of paid staff. Department heads are amenable only to the full council.”

GEAR—Council approved a request by the fire department to spend $10,000 for four sets of turnout gear to replace aging equipment.

LIBRARY—Stair Public Library was given permission to spend $1,257 for a DVD kiosk to display the growing DVD collection.

TREES—The city will apply for a $200 grant from the Arbor Day Foundation to plant two trees on Arbor Day.

A realignment of council committees resulted in the following assignments:

• Public Safety–Tracy Schell (chair), Leasa Slocum and Jason Cook.

• Public Works–Art Erbskorn (chair), Greg Braun and Slocum.

• Finance, Legal, Personnel, and Economic Development–Keith Pennington (chair), Schell and Erbskorn.

Mayor Doug Erskin serves as an ex officio member of each committee.

COMPLAINT—Property owner Kyle Schaffner told council he believes he is being unfairly targeted in property maintenance issues. Rules must be enforced equally on everybody, he said.

  • 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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