Morenci's 2011-12 budget proposed 05.04.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

General fund spending is expected to rise by about $22,000 in Morenci’s proposed 2011-12 budget plan. A budget hearing is scheduled at the May 9 city council meeting.

No salary and wages increases are planned in the next fiscal year—other than those negotiated through union contract—due to declining state and local revenue. City administrator Renée Schroeder expects a drop in property tax revenue due to declining property values, and state-shared revenue is expected to fall by $70,000.

Gov. Rick Snyder has spoken of restoring part of the loss to communities that consolidate and share services, reduce the cost of employee benefits, and show greater transparency.

Schroeder said department heads have worked on collaborative efforts with other communities, but past efforts don’t count toward meeting the governor’s goals. Only those going forward will be considered.

Part of the revenue shortfall will be covered by transferring $40,000 in savings from the refuse collection fund, Schroeder said, to help cover the costs of brush collection and the recycling center.

She’s heard about several communities discontinuing curbside pick-up of brush.

Schroeder expected some savings in health care costs by increasing employee co-pay and deductibles, but that will be wiped out by federal health care changes and by the addition of some adult children to family coverage.

Among the budget highlights, Schroeder mentioned that cemetery spending will include the purchase of a computer and software to maintain grave owner and occupant records. Data now on paper must be transferred to the new computer records.

DPW spending includes the purchase of a camera to inspect sewer lines ($9,000) and a backhoe ($90,000), although a backhoe might be leased.

The budget lists $30,725 to sealcoat 4,000 feet of Coomer Street from the east city limits to North Street.

The parking lot rebuild project is included in total spending for 2011, but $543,000 of the nearly $640,000 cost comes from a state grant.

The police department will replace the in-car video systems ($12,500) and $7,500 is slated for the police sergeant’s pay should the chief be selected to participate in an FBI academy program for officers.

The Morenci Area EMS purchase of an ambulance will be covered by a $123,500 FEMA grant, with the exception of about $6,500.

The budget shows the city will contribute $90,000 to the library for wages and utilities and require a transfer of $6,139 from the library’s savings.

“We are still treading very cautiously,” Schroeder said, “but we have been able to build back cash reserves in order to plan for a few much-needed purchases while leaving savings balances intact.”

Following the budget hearing next week, council is expected to approve the spending plan at the regular May 23 meeting.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    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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