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 11.03.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council will soon be searching for a new city treasurer due to the resignation of Stephanie Mossing.

Mossing submitted a letter of resignation at the Oct. 25 council meeting, announcing that she would leave the position at the end of the year. This would allow time to train a new employee before she begins working as finance director for the Village of Delta, Ohio.

Acceptance of her resignation was tabled until council could discuss the details of her departure. That discussion occurred at a special meeting Oct. 26 night and Mossing was given two options to consider: Stay with her Morenci job and work five hours hours overtime each week to potentially add $6,466 to her existing annual wage of $34,486; or leave the job and reimburse the city $12,842 for tuition the city paid while she earned a bachelor’s degree.

Mossing announced Friday she would take the second option and pay the city $100 a month over the next 10 years.

At the Oct. 25 meeting, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington thanked Mossing for her years of service with the city and expressed his appreciation for the early notice of departure.

However, he said, there is the issue of repayment of college tuition that council isn’t clear about. The city paid more than $26,000 for continuing education following an agreement made by city council in 2005: If Mossing didn’t remain with the city at least five years after the final class was completed, she would repay tuition costs in full.

“I knew I would have to repay some of the schooling,” Mossing said, “but I thought it was a pro-ration over the five years. Financially, I can’t come up with a lump sum like that, whether it’s pro-rated or not.”

Pennington said he was hesitant to accept the resignation without knowing details of the repayment.

Council met in a special session the following night for two and a half hours and eventually approved the two options. The option involving overtime was accepted unanimously after city administrator Renée Schroeder spoke about the challenge city hall staff faces in efficiently handling its workload. Budget cuts in May 2007 reduced the staff from four full-time employees to three.

Mossing presented a plan for repayment that she considered affordable, which led to the second motion, offered by Joe Varga—reducing the $26,000 debt to $12,842 and repaying the city, without interest, at $100 a month. This passed by a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Pennington and councilors Jason Cook and Tracy Schell opposing the offer. Varga was joined by Greg Braun, Art Erbskorn and Leasa Slocum to pass the motion.

The city’s employee handbook includes a provision stating that “employees shall be reimbursed 100 percent of their cost in attending study courses or training sessions designed to assist the employee in developing skills required in the pursuit of their employment with the City of Morenci. Said courses or training sessions must first be approved by City Council.”

When council approved Mossing’s course of study, the five-year stipulation was added to the motion.

Mossing was hired by the city in June 2002 and assumed the role as city treasurer in 2007.

Council is expected to formally accept the resignation at the Nov. 8 meeting.

HENKEL—Pennington said the city was notified by the Henkel company that it would like to sell the remaining property it owns in the city, on the former site of the Parker Rust Proof Company.

Henkel gave its property east of Mill Street to the city in 2004. Now it’s ready to part with the 3.5 acres on the west side of Mill Street that border Bean Creek. The company is asking $2,500 for the land.

Council voted to send the proposal to the city attorney for review.

When council members decide whether or not to accept the offer, Pennington said, they will have to weigh the loss of tax revenue vs. the availability of the property for development. With Henkel based in Germany, he expects that purchasing the property in the future could face a delay that could hinder quick action, if needed.

Environmental clean-up of the property was completed by Henkel, but development is limited to commercial and industrial uses.

BID—Council voted unanimously to accept the only bid received for an environmental assessment of the two properties on Orchard Street that will be demolished for the parking lot project.

Fibertec of Holt, Mich., will complete the assessment for $1,630.

LIABILITY—Liability insurance will again be purchased from the BHS agency at a cost of $32,231 for each year of a two-year renewal.

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