Morenci city council: special meeting 10.29.08

Written by David Green.


Morenci city council took care of six items of business in a special meeting Oct. 23—a meeting that lasted more than three and a half hours.

Considerable discussion was devoted to the roles and responsibilities of council members, the mayor and city employees. The issue was discussed further Monday night and a resolution was unanimously approved to clarify the matter.

Council voted 5-1 to hire Associated Engineers and Surveyors of Adrian for the Hammontree Industrial Drive construction in the industrial park.

Currently, a dirt road leads into the park  off Main Street near United Bank and Trust and intersects with the existing park road, Skyline Industrial Drive. Through the Palm Plastics expansion project, a state grant will pay the majority of the cost.

Associated will be paid $26,775 to design the road and another $44,625 for engineering during the construction phase.

Mayor Doug Erskin opposed the motion because the regular competitive bids process wasn’t taken. Bids were compared from Associated and Jones and Henry and Associated gave the cheaper quote.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder cited wording in the city charter that allows an exception to competitive bidding for services.

Associated was also hired to survey the industrial park land that will be sold to Palm Plastics. Associated will perform the work at the company’s normal hourly rates.

In one other engineering decision, Schroeder was given the authority to spend up to $1,000 to obtain a draft survey of property that will be sold to SBA Network Services, owner of the communications tower in the industrial park.

TNG: Council voted to contact the owner of TNG regarding late rent payments. The company leases the building at the back of Wakefield Park. The is requesting a portion of the overdue payment within 10 days and for the company to be up to date with rent by Jan. 1, 2009, or legal proceedings will begin.

FARM LEASE—Gallup Brothers will be contacted about renewing a lease to farm land in vacant portions of the industrial park. The new lease contract will exclude the 20 acres of land that will be sold to Palm Plastics and also remove an area designated for a storm water retention pond.

SUBSTATION—In an overview of the Palm Plastics project, council learned that neither Midwest nor Consumers is currently able to provide a five megawatt power source needed when Palm expands.

A substation would have to be installed and power might have to be obtained from First Energy in Ohio. Consumers continues to investigate a solution through its system.

ORDINANCE—Councilors discussed the weed and tall grass ordinance and also the purpose and role of the mayor’s property maintenance citizens committee.

It was pointed out that ordinance changes should come from the planning commission and then moved on to council for consideration.

A review of the weed and grass ordinance will be undertaken by the finance and legal committee.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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