Morenci city council 2012.02.29

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Certain land contract purchases could become part of the city’s rental inspection plan if city council members approve a proposed ordinance change.

The change would affect several residents, said mayor Keith Pennington, and he welcomes public comment about the plan.

The issue was discussed and tabled at the Feb. 13 meeting, but Pennington presented a proposal Monday that would include land contract purchases in the inspection plan if they are not registered with the county deeds office.

If the change were made, said city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder, the city’s building inspector would be allowed inside to make safety inspections.

Several properties are listed as available for rent or for sale and a land contract agreement is signed rather than paying monthly rent. 

“It the change is approved,” Pennington said, “it might bring a lot of land contracts back to rentals.”

Every time the property changes ownership, another safety inspection would be required, where rental properties are inspected only once every five years.

“The owners might find there’s more advantages as a rental,” the mayor said.

TASER—Council approved a request by police chief Larry Weeks for the purchase of a Taser electroshock weapon. Money will come from the police department’s equipment fund.

Weeks said he had some hesitation with making the purchase until legal issues were cleared and more training options available. He’s glad he waited because technology has improved.

With the county sheriff’s department cutting back and a state police office closing, Weeks said he wants his department to have the best tools available, including the Taser.

Continuing training is needed to operate the device.

UPGRADE—Council approved a motion to seek bids for an electrical upgrade at Wakefield Park. The city electrical inspector said the transformer near the old ball diamond should be twice the size of the existing unit. 

City treasurer Crystal White, who is a member of the Town and Country Festival committee, said there were electrical problems at the last festival and some vendors have inquired whether improvements will be made.

Another electrical problem at the festival last year was related to equipment owned by Consumers and that was replaced.

PROPERTY—Council voted unanimously to approve a covenant deed for the transfer of the ProMedica property to the city. Pennington reminded council that the deed includes a 20-year restriction on using the property for an enterprise that ProMedica would consider competing with its operations in Morenci.

Pennington said his understanding is that the restriction would be removed if ProMedica’s current use of adjacent property ends.

GRANTS—The city received a 50 percent match state grant to pay half the cost of a new dump truck through a clean diesel program. The truck is expected to cost about $130,000.

City supervisor Barney Vanderpool and assistant clerk Leasa Slocum attended a workshop about program. Schroeder was told that their grant application was considered among the best submitted.

A $3,000 grant for trees was given by Consumers Energy. The grant will be used to partially cover the cost of landscaping in the parking lot project.

JUDGMENT—Council voted 6-1 to accept a consent judgment regarding former employee Stephanie Mossing. Mossing is repaying the city about $9,500 in tuition money that was spent before she left for another job. The judgment calls for repayment over the next year.

Jell Bell opposed the motion, believing the money should be paid to the city immediately.

  • 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.
  • Front.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.

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