Morenci city council 2011.11.16

Written 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.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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