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.

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    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
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    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
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    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
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    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
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    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
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    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
  • 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.
  • 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.
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    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
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