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.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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