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.

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