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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
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    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
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    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.

Fayetet water and sewer rates might increase 04.20.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette council’s Finance Committee continues discussion on an increase in water and sewer rates, while the village administrator presses for the need to cover costs.

The committee is recommending a 12 percent increase in the sewer fee and a three percent increase in the water fee. Village administrator Amy Metz sees the need for more revenue to cover the costs of providing the services, maintaining and repairing the existing system and equipment, and paying for improvements, including the sewer separation project and treatment system upgrade.

Metz would like to see a 40 percent increase in sewer rates and a six percent increase in water rates, along with a $2.50 increase to the quarterly $25 enhancement fee.

The 2011 budget calls for repair and maintenance expenses of $28,000 coming out of the sewer enhancement fund. Her goal is to move that cost from the enhancement fund to the sewer fund which would leave $28,000 for capital projects.

Similarly, the six percent increase in the water rate and would allow $10,000 of miscellaneous expenses to be transferred back into the water fund, allowing about $16,000 to remain in the enhancement fund for future development rather than using it for repair and maintenance.

At the March 19 committee meeting,  Julia Ruger suggested looking at a 20 percent sewer increase for the third quarter and possibly an addition 20 percent for January 2012.

Metz recommended not making any decision until word is received on funding from the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund.

In 2009, Metz pushed for an increase in rates to cover a growing shortfall in water and sewer service costs, by council members voted 4-3 against increasing rates.

Council later passed a smaller increase than first proposed, one that Metz said would allow the funds to break even, but not contribute to maintenance, replacement and emergencies.

“If a larger increase would have passed in 2009, this rate increase would not be necessary," Metz said later. "Council was aware an additional increase would be needed to cover the cost of the sewer separation project once funding was in place.

“Due to tough economic times, it was Council's decision in 2009 to have a minimal increase to prevent further use of carry-over balances and lessen the financial burden to the residents." 

About 12 percent of households are currently using the monthly utility billing option. The committee is hoping to implement a new monthly invoice format in the third quarter of 2011 without any increase in costs.

However, the village is not able to obtain a bulk mailing permit through the Fayette post office and that will increase costs slightly. Discussion about other options will continue.

FINANCES—Village financial officer Lisa Zuver gave an update on state revenue estimates. State sources predict a drop of 25 percent in revenue this year and again next year, but Zuver noted that revenue for this fund is always estimated low. A 26 percent reduction was also projected for the current year.

The additional decreases will be taken into account in the 2012 budget, Metz said.

Additional news from the April 4 council meeting:

HOUSING—Metz learned at a recent regional development meeting that 3.1 percent of Fulton County mortgages are past due by at least 90 days; that one in 467 homes is in foreclosure; and 7.8 percent of student loans are at least 60 days past due, compared to a national average of 10.2 percent.

GRANT—Police Chief Jason Simon was given authorization to apply for a $40,000 communications grant to replace the police department computer and telephone system. If approved, the village would contribute $4,000.

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