Morenci city council members voted Monday to move forward with demolition of the former Grange building and the abandoned house to the south. Demolition of the Dunbar Auction House will be decided later.
The city hasn’t yet acquired the Dunbar property on North Street, pending the environmental inspection of the former automotive dealer and repair shop.
Mayor Keith Pennington pointed out that the city won’t know the terms of cleanup procedures at the North Street property until the environmental work is completed.
“The quicker we get the house down the better,” said councilor Leasa Slocum.
Some windows and doors were removed by the prior owners, and city superintendent Barney Vanderpool said that liability issues could arise.
Council voted unanimously to seek advice on drafting bid documents which are expected to be ready for the Sept. 27 meeting.
The Morenci Fire Department was given permission to use the two Orchard Street structures for training purposes. Officer Brad Lonis said the department will take of securing the house since they will be using it.
Training for the Morenci department is planned Sept. 21, Sept. 28 and Oct. 3. Training with other departments is scheduled from Oct. 14-17. Because Morenci is serving as the host site, any of its department members will be able to attend the training for free. The cost for the training program is now $130 a person.
SEWER—The sewer use fee will increase to $2.37 per thousand gallons used, up from $2.29 currently. In the two previous years the fee was set at $2.47 and $2.65.
The fee is established to create a fund for sewer system maintenance.
FESTIVAL—Morenci Town and Country representatives attended the meeting to seek approval on three contracts for next summer’s event.
Council approved a two-year contract for a rodeo at a cost of $6,500 a year.
Sue Snyder said she noticed a difference in festival attendance when the rodeo was scheduled compared to the previous year when there was none. She expects greater participation from contestants, too, when the event is repeated year after year. The rodeo made a profit for the festival this year.
Council tabled approval of an alcohol permit because an error has the sponsor listed as the festival committee instead of the Morenci Eagles.
Police chief Larry Weeks said that from a police perspective, he was not aware of any problems with the Eagles’ beer tent at the last festival.
A fireworks contract was also tabled until the price is investigated. Snyder said she was expecting another $5,000 charge, but $5,250 is listed on the contract.
Mayor Pennington said he appreciates the committee’s efforts in getting contracts arranged early. He also wondered if the committee had considered a laser show instead of fireworks. He’s read that several communities have gone that route.
MUSIC—Council will allow “Music in the Park” to continue through the fall in order to solicit opinions of neighboring residents while council considers an ordinance change to make such gatherings fit city law.
Groups will be allowed to perform at Wakefield Park until 9 p.m.
“I don’t have a problem with it as long as we have a mechanism to put a stop to it if it becomes disruptive,” Weeks said.
HALLOWEEN—Council approved use of Wakefield Park for a Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce children’s party the week before Halloween. The event is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 23.
Trick-or-treat hours will remain on Halloween, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. Halloween is on a Sunday this year.