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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
  • Front.homecoming Court
  • Cheer
  • Front.park.lights
  • Front.pull
  • Front.ropes
  • Front.sculpt
  • Front.tar.wide
  • Front.toss
  • Front.walk Across

Fayette council discusses rates 7.15.09

Written by David Green.


Fayette village council members discussed water and sewer rates again Thursday night, but offered no resolution to bring the utilities fund out of debt.

Audience member Wayne Williams told council members that the water system should not operate in the red. He acknowledged the tough economic times, but said that’s often used as an excuse to avoid increasing fees.

“It’s a moderate increase that everyone can live with,” Williams said.

For a customer using 7,000 gallons of water a quarter, the proposed nine percent increase would cost $28.48 a year.

Williams said he’s troubled by people saying that water should be free. He worked for the village water department many years ago and is aware of the costs involved.

Acting mayor Craig Rower responded that many people have a misconception about what the proposed nine percent rate increase would cover.

“It’s to pay the bills, point blank,” Rower said.

The funds were to be used only for the operation of the water and sewer system, Rower explained later, and not to generate a surplus for future needs. At nine percent, however, a surplus would have been realized.

“We do agree there should be an increase. We haven’t agreed on what that percentage should be.”

He said he’s working on a plan for a three percent increase which he claims would keep the fund in the black starting in 2010.

Council voted 4-3 at the June 11 meeting against a one-time nine percent increase in rates.

The operating fund went into debt in 2008 and money from the maintenance and replacement fund was needed to cover the shortfall.

The nine percent increase would have put the fund into the black through 2010, but projections show the replacement fund running dry by 2013 without an additional increase.

Williams said that if the water department continues to lose money, eventually it will bleed funds from other departments.

Council member Jerry Gonzales said he doesn’t think it’s reasonable to create a surplus of money in the utility fund with the tough economic conditions.

Council member Paul Shaffer said the rates should be increased enough to pay the bills, with a little extra for emergencies.

What if you pay the bills but then have an expensive problem to fix, Williams wondered.

“Council should have put a surcharge on years ago,” Shaffer said. “To sit here and put all the blame on this council isn’t fair.”

Rates were last increased in April 2005.

For any business, Williams said, preparations should be made for when times aren’t so good.

“I and several council members do not feel like now is the appropriate time to ask for that much of an increase, just so that the village would gain a surplus in those funds,” Rower said later.

When the economy improves, he thinks voters should decide if they want to increase rates more to build a surplus for maintenance and replacement.

Village administrator Amy Metz explained later that a nine percent increase would have covered last year’s debt and added to the replacement fund, if it had been imposed at the start of the year.

A decision to increase rates now would bring in new revenue only for the final quarter of the year and would no longer cover the shortfall from 2008 and 2009.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2015