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.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    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.
  • Front.code.2
    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.

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.

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