By DAVID GREEN
Morenci residents will see Consumers Energy trucks moving into town next year to complete upgrades on the main electrical line serving customers.
Barb Mitzel of Consumers’ Adrian office told city council Dec. 14 that the 46,000 volt high voltage distribution line from Dowling Highway near Hudson to Morenci is being rebuilt.
Four and a half miles of the line are already complete, she said, and anyone driving north of Morenci on M-156 probably noticed the work last summer. About five miles of the line have yet to be rebuilt.
“The purpose is to improve reliability,” Mitzel said.
Lines will deteriorate over the years, she said, and lead to outages.
The work will also address some right-of-way concerns and will enable the company to handle repair issues more quickly in the future.
In Morenci, new poles will be positioned in the vicinity of Mill, Union and Locust streets, leading to the substation. None of the new wiring will pass above any residences.
Mitzel was asked if the new wiring would increase capacity. After checking with an engineer later in the week, she learned that the wire size will be increased to allow for more capacity. If a large energy user located in Morenci, more electricity would be available, she said.
The upgrade does not affect the electrical shortage in the industrial park, however, because Consumers isn’t the provider. The city chose Midwest Energy to serve the industrial park.
Mitzel said she came to the council meeting to let the community know that changes are coming.
“We’re part of the community and a big part of their every day lives,” she said.
PLANNERS—Rebecca Berger was appointed to fill a vacancy on the planning commission. John Van Havel, who also volunteered, was first nominated, but failed to gain support in a 3-4 vote.
SNOW—Council accepted a bid from T&R Total Lawn Care for the removal of snow from walks where the owner failed to get the job done. T&R submitted the only bid, but city supervisor Barney Vanderpool was satisfied with their work. T&R will charge $17 a walk.
Vanderpool said responses to uncleared walks will be based on complaints. City employees will not patrol the town for uncleared walks.
PART-TIME—Council voted to hire two part-time employees. One will work at the recycling center for 17 hours a week. The other will serve on a call-in basis for general DPW work. The worker could assist in snow removal or other chores where extra help is needed.
BUDGET—City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder told council that property tax revenue is predicted to drop by an average of five percent in Michigan (a possible loss of $30,000 for Morenci). She was told that state revenue sharing could decline by a similar amount.
The city’s budgeted contingency fund is about the same as the projected decrease, she said, and the situation will need careful monitoring.
LEDC—Council member Greg Braun will take former mayor Doug Erskin’s place on the Lenawee Economic Development Committee.
MEETING—The Dec. 28 council meeting was canceled. The next regular meeting is Jan. 11.