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.batter
    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.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • 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.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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