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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • 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.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

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