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.