By DAVID GREEN
The owners of Morenci’s Whitman Crossing apartment complex took their property tax dispute to the state tribunal in Lansing and left with a judgement in their favor.
The apartment owners first presented their case at the local board of review, but failing to find support there they moved on to Lansing.
Members of the state tax tribunal supported the appeal and ordered a refund of more than $14,000 from a tax period of two years.
Morenci city council members voted Monday to transfer $14,500 from the city’s contingency fund to cover the cost of the refund. The money will be paid to the county government where the refund was issued.
SIDEWALKS—City administrator Renée Schroeder told council members that $5,823 remains in the sidewalk repair fund. The money is used to assist property owners with the cost of sidewalk repairs and replacement.
Since July, she said, the city has paid a portion of two sidewalk projects.
Three letters were sent recently to the owners of walks that need to have work completed this year. All three are the result of damage from a storm in late May.
Only one walk remains to be finished from the most recent phase of repair work. The program was initiated in 2005 following a recommendation from the planning commission.
Planners first targeted property near the elementary school.
In 2012, property along the west side of Page Street will be addressed. In 2013, the south side of Coomer Street is planned, followed by the north side of Coomer Street the following year.
CEMETERY—Council approved the purchase of software for cemetery records costing $3,114. The software is specifically designed for cemetery records and has the capability of incorporating GIS mapping for grave location.
EQUIPMENT—Council member Leasa Slocum and city supervisor Barney Vanderpool attended a seminar about a “clean diesel” program coordinated through the state.
The program provides 50 percent of the cost of replacing older equipment with new cleaner burning units in an effort to improve air quality.
Vanderpool will apply for funds to replace the city’s backhoe and dump truck which together would cost about $200,000.
Mayor Keith Pennington noted that the program appears to be highly competitive. Morenci school district took advantage of a similar program several years ago.
RETIREMENTS—Mayor Pennington thanked council members Jason Cook, Art Erbskorn and Leasa Slocum for serving on council. The terms of all three expire next month and none sought reëlection.
“I’ve never been ashamed to say, ‘I’ve got a great council,’” Pennington said.
Schroeder said the city has accomplished a lot while they were serving, including the parking lot project that should be mostly complete this week.