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.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • 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.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • 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).
  • 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.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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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