Morenci city council 11.26.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council members aren’t ready to make changes in their voting process or in property maintenance standards.

Both issues came to the table at council’s meeting Monday night—at the suggestion of mayor Doug Erskin—but no one seconded either motion to open discussion.

At the Nov. 10 meeting, Erskin recommended a repeal of the International Property Maintenance Code due to economic conditions. He stated that adhering to the code could place “a high financial burden of the residents of Morenci.”

His second suggestion was to require two readings of proposed issues before voting, to give citizens the opportunity to consider the action.

Erskins’ wife, Becky, expressed frustration that no one would even give a second to the motions in order to open up discussion. She said council doesn’t seem willing to look into things.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea, but I don’t want to make it an absolute,” councilor Tracy Schell said. “I think we should have the ability to make a decision in less than a month.”

Councilor Art Erbskorn agreed, saying that it could handicap council and create a backlog.

Audience member Kyle Schaffner said it was his understanding that a quick decision could still be made if necessary, but for the most part the change would give citizens more time to hear about issues before a decision was made.

Council member Keith Pennington said it would be ridiculous to be unable to approve the payment of bills only after two readings.

“If anyone is uncomfortable voting,” he said, “they can ask to table the motion. We can always take as much time as we want.”

He believes that council agrees on taking longer with issues such as ordinance changes.

Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Erskin stated that he believes changes could be made in the property maintenance code without doing away with it.

“I still think there’s a lot of work to be done on it, beyond finances,” he said.

He also expressed concern about the $150 fee for filing an appeal.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder explained the need for a cost—paying appeals board members, notifying neighbors, publication of notices, etc.—and a decision was made to return the fee if a citizen appeal was successful.

“I feel I did my part and we’ll leave it at that,” Erskin said when the discussion ended.

PLANNERS—Joe Varga was appointed to fill a vacancy on the planning commission. Matt Woznicki was appointed to chair the group following the resignation of Tracy Schell.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.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.

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