Morenci city council 10.13.2010

Written 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.cowboy
    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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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