Morenci city council 2011.09.21

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

State Senator Bruce Caswell visited the Sept. 12 Morenci city council meeting and the news he brought wasn’t all good.

Caswell told council about Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to eliminate the state personal property tax—paid by businesses on equipment ranging from machinery to computers.

Without a means of replacement, communities would be forced to slash services or shift the tax burden to residents.

Morenci city clerk/administrator Renée Schroeder said the city would lose about $122,000 annually if the proposal were to become law.

Schroeder understands that the move would benefit businesses, but she worries the effect in city government.

“Municipalities’ general account funds are already hurting from the reduction  of statutory revenue funding over the past few years,” she said.

Caswell also talked about a change in the delivery of statutory funding. The new Economic Vitality Incentive Program would limit state funding until a community  meets several requirements, including transparency of records, the consolidation of services and reductions in employee compensation.

Once the requirements are met, full funding would be given.

Caswell told council that Morenci will lose his representation in Lansing next year. Redistricting measures will return Lenawee County to a district to the east with Monroe County.

SIDEWALKS—Morenci mayor Keith Pennington urged residents with sidewalks damaged from fallen trees to have them repaired before winter. Snow cover could hide the problem areas and make walking dangerous.

Information about the city’s financial contribution is available at city hall.

SUBSTATION—Councilor Greg Braun spoke about a proposal from Consumers Energy to replace Morenci’s substation. The existing substation would be dismantled after a new one was constructed on former Parker Chemical land east of Mill Street.

The upgrade would improve reliability and allow for expansion.

“The proximity to the existing location would make for easy planning,” Pennington said, “but looking into the future, would it make more sense to place it near the industrial park?”

No matter what location is finally chosen, the mayor is happy with the project.

“We’re very pleased that Consumers is looking to invest in the community,” he said. “We think it will be a huge benefit to the city.”

PARKING LOT—Pennington said completion of the new parking area along North Street will probably not be completed this year because an easement has still not been completed with owners of the Pizza Box and the Morenci Area Historical Society.

Pennington said that property owners are pushing for a plan that would reduce parking from 17 to 11 spaces and use public funds on private property. Another meeting with property owners is planned Friday.

Council discussed a problem at Milestones caused by the parking lot project and also the wall of the Observer building following demolition of the Dunbar Auction House. 

At a committee meeting Monday, council will discuss removing or covering up the plaster remaining on the Observer wall, determining whether it’s the city’s responsibility or the owners of the Observer.

FESTIVAL—Bill Foster and Dale Long have volunteered to serve as co-directors of the Town and Country Festival. Both have been part of the festival committee.

OFFICER—Council voted to hire Eric Adams, formerly with the Adrian Police Department, to serve as a part-time officer for Morenci. He is familiar with the community through past EMS service, said police chief Larry Weeks.

The chief said the department’s other part-time officers are putting in hours in other communities that pay a higher wage and he’s having difficulty filling empty time slots.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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