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

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • 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.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

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.

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