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.

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    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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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
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    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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