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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • 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.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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