Morenci city council 05.12.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

With state revenue expected to fall by $45,000 in the next fiscal year, Morenci city council plans to trim about $39,000 in spending in the 2010-11 budget, compared to the current year.

As presented Monday at a public hearing, total spending is pegged at $3.2 million with a projected contingency fund of $54,711 in the general fund. Total spending will climb considerably over last year due to the parking lot project with nearly $600,000 arriving through a Community Development Block Grant (ICE grant).

In addition to a decline in state revenue, property taxes are also expected to fall in the next year based on an estimate provided by the county equalization department.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder noted an increase in recycling income due to a $3,000 donation from Seneca Township toward the city’s recycling center.

Fire protection revenue will fall by $2,600 because the fee charged the townships is based on the Consumer Price Index which decreased last year.

Health insurance costs increased by $18,500 among city hall employees, Schroeder explained, because some workers are choosing to join the city’s insurance plan rather than taking a cash payment to opt out of coverage.

Salary increases range from 1.5 percent to 3 percent.

The police budget shows an overall decrease in funding of $800, but spending includes hiring a part-time worker for clerical help.

The recycling and brush collection fund shows a decrease of $43,000, but this is because a large sum is being shifted to a fund separate from the general fund.

DPW spending includes a snow pusher and underbody scraper, along with budgeting for the east side water tower. The $200,000 cost could be spread out over five years.

Repair of Whitney Street will be considered if a good paving price is obtained in conjunction with the parking lot project.

Council is seeking a transfer of $6,600 from the library’s savings account into the general fund to meet the library’s portion of the budget.

The park budget includes $5,170 for an upgrade to the five-year recreation plan and a donation of $1,600 will be given to the county commissioners to support the OMNI drug investigation program. The commissioners request a dollar per capita ($2,398), but council went with a smaller amount due to limited finances.

The Morenci Area EMS fund shows expected decreases of about $30,000 due to declines in Medicare and insurance payments, but it will be bolstered by $18,000 with approval of a 10 percent increase in assessments in the townships and city. Overall, the EMS budget shows a decrease of nearly $11,000.

No comment from the public was made during the hearing.

Schroeder noted that council still has two weeks to make changes to the budget before final approval at the May 24 meeting. The finance and legal committee will meet one more time before then.

BILLING—Discussion at the committee level is planned regarding sewer and water charges made to property where a structure is no longer standing.

A proposed change would eliminate charges when the structure is gone and the connections to the city lines are capped.

The committee will discuss how much should be charged if the property were developed again in the future. There would be no need to make new taps, but the DPW would be required to assist in arranging for connections with the city’s service.

FLAGS—The Morenci Kiwanis Club was given permission to post two flags at the entrance to Oak Grove Cemetery on five holidays. The flags would be part of the club’s fund-raising project in which flags are flown at the residences of subscribers.

EMPLOYEE—Joe Baugh was hired as a temporary part-time DPW worker.

MUSIC—The Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking permission to play music downtown from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer.

The request was tabled to see if any response comes from people living in downtown apartments.

One complaint was received about the music played continually during the Christmas holiday season.

  • 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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