Morenci city council 2011.11.16

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council members passed a resolution Monday worth $8,000 to the general fund, but costing employees several thousands of dollars.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is strongly encouraging changes in employee health insurance programs, explained mayor Keith Pennington, to reduce the costs of insurance provided to public employees.

Through a vote Monday, 10  city employees will now pay 20 percent of their health insurance costs, which comes to about $4,000 for a family plan.

The city had the option to ask for a waiver from the 80/20 plan, but in that case it would have lost $8,000 in state funding.

The governor’s plan cut funding to each community—about $24,000 in Morenci’s case—which can be earned back by conforming to three incentive plans. 

The city is already creating a “community dashboard” that outlines city revenue, expenditures and services, and the health insurance change meets the second incentive.

The third calls for collaboration among neighboring government units. Mayor Pennington spoke informally about that requirement after the meeting and expressed some uncertainty about how it will work. 

Morenci has acted on its own to save money through cooperative efforts in the past, he said, but it’s not clear whether those past efforts will be considered to meet the governor’s new plan.

TRAFFIC FLOW—Police chief Larry Weeks told council about his observations of traffic flow through the new parking lots.

He thinks traffic flow has increased both in number and in speed where Orchard Street passes the east parking area. Orchard is a through street separate from the parking lot, he said, but people are turning into the lot and using it as a street to reach Main Street. When leaving the parking lot and entering Orchard Street, many drivers are not stopping, as they should when exiting a parking lot.

City supervisor Barney Vanderpool said he’s also witnessed speeding in front of city hall and he’s concerned that an accident will occur.

FENCE—The low bid of $2,046 was accepted from Adrian and Tecumseh Fencing for the installation of 75-feet of six-foot vinyl fencing in an “L” shape at the northeast corner of the new parking lot off North Street. The fence will block a residential area that was opened when the Dunbar building was demolished.

PARKING—Royal Flush septic service will pay the city $75 a month to park a truck inside the vacant TNG building. The company owner currently pays $25 a month to park outside the building.

THANKS—Mayor Pennington thanked members of the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce for their various efforts in helping the community. City administrator Renée Schroeder thanked members of the fire department for helping Chamber members hang holiday lights at Wakefield Park.

• The Nov. 28 council meeting was canceled.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.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.

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