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.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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • 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

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