Morenci school board 2011.10.26

Written by David Green.

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.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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