Morenci city council 02.03.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Local job growth is a priority for Morenci mayor Keith Pennington, and he urged city council members Jan. 25 to keep the thought in their minds, as well.

Pennington spoke of the ramifications of the new BioDri plant scheduled to open in Blissfield by the middle of this year. He said the benefits of the new business will extend beyond Blissfield.

“We need to keep abreast of the project and think about any ancillary business to support it,” he said. “It’s a large enough project that it will impact us all.”

The BioDri facility will separate the components of liquids, solids and gases. For example, grease could be processed for use as biofuel feedstock, and the company is expected to furnish a product for the NextDiesel plant in Adrian.

Pennington said he met recently with the leaders of all Morenci industries to learn of challenges facing them. He noted that the success of each local industry benefits everyone in the community, not just those who are employed at the businesses.

Pennington said that he and city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder recently met with Consumers Energy representatives to talk about increasing electrical capacity to the city’s industrial park.

He said the city needs to think ahead about attracting business and not wait until a prospective customer arrives.

“I’m not saying that we can do anything about it,” he said, “but at least we’re working on it.”

He’s awaiting proposals from Consumers about increased power and about energy-efficient street lighting.

Schroeder told council about a state program called Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) that will be funded through the Community Development Block Grant program. Morenci is among the communities eligible to apply for funding.

Schroeder said she will work with the city’s engineering firm to obtain estimates of costs to repair the city’s parking lot across from city hall to the east.

The lot is in need of an upgrade which is already planned in the current budget. With the grant, however, estimates will also be made for the larger lot behind city hall.

After costs are estimated, the city’s share of the project price would be determined.

“Our match could come in less than what we were going to spend on doing just the east lot,” Schroeder said.

Any water and sewer work needed in the area could also be included in the project.

BUDGET—Pennington urged department heads to monitor spending. At this time, he said, about 60 percent of budgeted funds should have been spent.

SENECA—Election inspectors were approved for the Feb. 23 special election in Seneca Township that Morenci will oversee.

Dorothy McDowell will serve as chair, assisted by Doris Collar, Joyce Woerner, Stephanie Mossing and Renée Schroeder. The township will reimburse the city for its costs.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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