The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    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.
  • Front.winner
    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.
  • Front.bank.2
    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.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    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.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Fayette village council 12.17.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

With projected revenues running lower than expected and the prospect of reductions in state support, Fayette village council members developed a list of proposed cuts to trim about $43,000 from the budget.fayette.cuts.chart.jpg

If council members accept the proposal at the Dec. 23 meeting—rescheduled from the regular Thursday date—residents will no longer have leaf and brush pickup, and police coverage will be reduced.

“Everybody is on board in recognizing that we’re in bad economic times,” mayor Anita Van Zile said. “We don’t know what lies ahead, but it’s likely that things will get worse.”

The proposed savings will cover the current shortfall developing due to a reduction in withholding tax revenue, she said, and will give the village additional funds to carry into the new year.

Income tax revenue continues to run about $23,500 below the projected level for the current year.

Council members agreed to take a 50 percent reduction in their salary—from $40 a meeting down to $20—for a savings of $3,000. Similarly, the mayor’s pay would be cut by 80 percent for a savings of $2,000.

Eliminating leaf and brush collection would trim $11,240 from the budget and council aims to save an additional $5,000 by eliminating overtime hours for village workers.

Mayor Van Zile isn’t sure how that might work in light of unexpected emergencies such as the need to clear roads after a heavy snow. The welfare of taxpayers needs to be addressed, she said.

Council members have discussed the possibility of using compensatory time to balance out workers’ hours. They’re also exploring the use of private contractors for certain services such as water main breaks.

Dee Ferguson’s job as records clerk—plying through old village records in an effort to update old information following the death of Phil McKinney—will be cut from two days a week to one.

That isn’t exactly a savings, Van Zile said, since the work needs to be done eventually, but it will improve the village’s cash flow.

Village hall employees will clean the facility themselves rather than hire someone to do the work, and fewer part-time police officers  will be used.

Finally, council proposes to cut the amount of salt used in water softening by one-half to save $2,500.

On the revenue side, council proposes to charge the sewer and water enhancement fee on every unit of a multi-dwelling structure. Currently, the fee is charged only to an apartment building rather than to each unit within the building. That change would bring in an additional $5,400 to the water and sewer fund.

“We’re trying to be fiscally responsible and save where we can,” Van Zile.

PLOWING—Council took action to cancel all contracts, both written and verbal, for the removal of snow from private property. One contract dated from the 1970s.

The move will cut back on hours and salt use, and allow someone else in town to earn some money by providing the service.

Examples include the post office parking lot and the village green parking lot.

INSURANCE—Council learned the village will save $3,500 in insurance costs in the next year through various changes, including the closure of the pool and selling the Reo fire truck.

NYCE DRIVE—Council heard the first reading of a proposal to change the name of Railroad Street to Nyce Drive. The change would take effect Jan. 1, 2010, said village administrator Amy Metz, and next year both the old and new names would be posted on street signs.

VALUES—Council learned that a notice from county auditor Nancy Yackee pointed out that property values have decreased about $2 million in the village since the last valuation was done.

OHIO EPA—Three Fayette representatives joined those from other parts of the county to discuss issues with an aide to Sen. George Voinovich. One of the main topics was the Ohio EPA.

Councilor Jerry Gonzales said a statement was made by one of the people in attendance that the EPA tends to focus almost entirely on environmental concerns, ignoring the social and economic factors of issues, as it is also charged to do.

Small communities don’t have the funds to comply with regulations, Gonzales said, and he suggested a large reduction in the EPA budget to reduce the agency’s reach.

Metz added that concern was expressed about the likelihood of changes in mandates with the new administration soon coming into office.

There’s a reluctance to spend money on the long term control plan for sewage treatment knowing that regulations might change before the project is completed.

“We need good policy that we can adhere to,” she said.

Gonzales suggested that communities should be allowed to take care of their own problems without outside interference.

CLOSED—Council met in a closed session to discuss possible litigation, but no action was taken.

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