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.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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