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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Morenci EMS service assessment to increase 04.28.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Morenci Area EMS is faring better than ever in keeping its budget in line, reported coordinator Larry Weeks, but that doesn’t leave much money for ambulance replacement.

The EMS board is proposing a 10 percent increase in the assessment, with the additional cash placed in a fund for a new ambulance.

“We’ve done fairly well this year,” Weeks said. “We’re continuing to cut costs and use money wisely, but we cannot save enough to buy an ambulance.”

The 2003 primary ambulance has traveled 91,000 miles and the backup unit—a 1997 vehicle—has 153,000 miles of use. The 2003 model will paid off in January 2013.

Ambulance services typically use a unit for five years as the primary vehicle, then another five years as the secondary one. In areas with lower milage, such as Morenci’s situation, a vehicle may be used for 15 years. Weeks figures Morenci’s backup unit will reach 15 years before it is retire.

A 10 percent increase would cost Morenci residents and those from Seneca and Medina townships an additional $8.25 a year and $5.50 for apartment buildings and duplexes. The increase would bring in about $15,000 annually for ambulance replacement. A new vehicle costs from $120,000 to $150,000.

The increase for Morenci residents could be softened if council votes to pay off the sewer project bond early. That would reduce the tax bill by $120.

Weeks said there’s still confusion about how the ambulance service is funded. About half of the revenue comes from assessments and the other half from billing for services, either to insurance companies or directly to the user of the service.

“The special assessment only assures that the service is available,” he said, and is far short of covering the costs.

That’s why residents are billed when an ambulance is called. The cost typically varies between $500 and $1,200, depending on the service given.

Many communities fund the ambulance service through a millage that covers the majority of costs. Morenci’s system places less of the cost on taxpayers and more on the user.

Although Weeks is proud of how he and staff members have found ways to cut costs—this is the first budget year when borrowing wasn’t needed—he has concerns about finances due to the economy.

“Revenues are anticipated to decline due to high levels of unemployment and reduced health insurance benefits to so many people,” he said.

He will begin exploring grant possibilities to cover the cost of a new ambulance, but failing that, an increase in the assessment is the only option.

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