Morenci city council 10.13.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci council members heard details Monday about a land bank that could be used to rehabilitate property and prevent foreclosure.

Mayor Keith Pennington and city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder recently attended a meeting to learn about the Lenawee County land bank.

There’s broad debate at the county level about the wisdom of developing a land bank, Pennington told council members, and he questions whether the plan is beneficial.

The majority of tax-foreclosed property in the county failed to sell at the July auction—a situation that had never before happened.

When a property fails to sell, it is typically given to the local government or kept by the county to sell at a later date. If put into a land bank, that agency could make repairs or demolish it for sale of the land.

The land bank concept is being portrayed as a method of taking properties off the market that are being foreclosed on, Pennington said, in hopes of improving them and getting them back on the market.

This could prevent a private investor from buying the property and “flipping” it with a quick resale—either with or without improvements made.

Once the property is placed in the land bank, the city would receive no income tax for at least five years, Pennington said. Promoters of the concept say the city would actually get more in tax revenue once the property is rehabilitated and sold.

LITIGATION—Council members approved a recommendation from the city attorney to end litigation against Kyle Schaffner regarding properties that he owned.

The city went to court after Schaffner failed to allow rental inspection, but Schaffner claimed the properties were sold on land contract and not subject to inspection.

At the current time, explained police chief Larry Weeks, Schaffner is not the owner of record.

TRANSFER—Council approved a letter of support to be sent to the Lenawee Economic Development Commission regarding tax abatements given in the past to Palm Plastics.

The firm is being purchased by Schoeller Arca Systems and the letter supports the transfer of the abatements to the new owner.

PART-TIME—Council approved a request by city supervisor Barney Vanderpool to continue the part-time employment of Joe Baugh until the end of leaf collection.

FIRE DEPARTMENT—Council accepted the resignation of Nick Smith from the Morenci Fire Department and approved Cody Bennett’s application to join the department.

LIABILITY—Schroeder reported that the city liability insurer would not cover the use of the former NWD building for use a haunted house by the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
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    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
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    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
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    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
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    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.
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    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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