Morenci school board 2011.10.26

Written 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.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.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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