City budget discussion continues 5.06

Written by David Green.

Negotiations are continuing this week at city hall in preparations for the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, but come Friday afternoon, the document will be ready for public inspection.

Committee meetings are scheduled this week to work out the final details, said city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder, as council members continue to divide the funds up for spending.

There’s a slight decline in state revenue sharing, Schroeder said, and the city will lose $24,000 in rent payments from the closing of TNG Technologies. On the other hand, the city’s industrial park is now paid, and that will save $56,000 annually.

Council is proposing a three percent increase for hourly employees, four percent for part-time police officers and a 25-cent boost for EMS employees. Blue Cross rates increased about 12 percent in January to add to employee costs.

The DPW is hoping to pave the city’s short portion of Weston Road ($8,500) and the west portion of Whitney Avenue ($18,500) and the city’s east parking across from city hall ($65,000).

A new backhoe is also on the department’s wish list ($90,000) to replace a 1991 model, along with a sewer camera ($9,000).

The police would like to replace a patrol car at a cost of $16,000 for each of the next two years. There’s also a proposal to add a crossing guard at Locust and Page streets.

Fire department has plans to buy several items in the next year, including pagers ($2,000) and four sets of turn-out gear ($10,000).

About $40,000 is proposed for building and grounds, but Schroeder isn’t sure if all of those needs will be addressed in the next budget. Requests include a new furnace for city hall; exterior painting at city hall and the library; and caulking at the library.

A hearing for proposed budget is scheduled at the council meeting Monday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.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.

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