The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Morenci receives good audit report 12.01.2010

Written by David Green.


Morenci city council heard nothing but positive news from the annual audit presented Nov. 22.

CPA Philip Rubley told council that, as of June 30, 2010, city finances were in the best shape in many years.

“It’s probably the best position I’ve seen the city in in a long, long time,” he said. “This is a very good report.”

Revenue dropped, but expenses also went down in nearly every category. Expenses were held to within $6,000 of the previous year, Rubley said. He added that this was the closest he’s ever seen the city in regard to anticipated and actual spending.

The city’s general fund stood with a fund equity of $267,212, boosted by an excess of $112,342 from the past fiscal years.

“That’s the good news of the night,” Rubley said. “The last two years you’ve taken your fund equity position—which I thought was compromised and in jeopardy—and brought it up to a strong position.”

The auditor recommends savings equal to three months of operating expenses to cover unexpected financial challenges, and the city is close to that.

Rubley told council this is the closest he’s ever seen proposed expenditures match up with actual spending, through almost every category. Revenue dropped by about $14,000, but less money was expected and budgeted accordingly.

The budget called for a year-end fund balance of $219,000, but ended $47,296 better.

“This is really very good,” Rubley said.

But did you do the things that you needed to do with the resources available? That’s the key to success, he said. It’s easy to have an excess if needs are not taken care of.

STREETS—The local street fund generally never has enough money, Rubley said, but Morenci’s look strong. The major street fund is also in a strong position.

FIRE—The department benefitted from $92,530 in grants and shows an equity of $28,012 for equipment purchases.

EMS—There have been problems in that fund, but it’s really improved substantially and appears to be on track.

The key is to successfully collect receipts from third parties. The administration needs to keep on top of the issue.

At the end of the fiscal year, the EMS showed an excess of $97,542, based on what was billed.

“This is the best position I’ve seen since it started,” Rubley said.

It’s very good, he said, with caution.

UTILITIES—Utility funds often show a deficit, he said, but there’s an equity of $109,000.

“These costs are under control and your revenue stream is good,” Rubley said. “I think you’re sitting in very good shape. To be in the positive is extraordinary.”

Rubley also praised the city’s accounting system as operating well.

Morenci mayor Keith Pennington welcomed the good news, but he reminded council that it’s for the past year. New expenses are coming and some revenue streams might go down, so council will need to remain cautious  and vigilant despite the healthy fund equity.

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