By DAVID GREEN
Unregistered land contract sales won’t become part of Morenci’s rental inspection program.
A proposal discussed March 12 would have added land contract sales—those that weren’t recorded with the county register of deeds—to the inspection program.
When the issue came up for a vote Monday, only Robert Jennings and Rebecca Berger supported it.
The proposal was first discussed in February due to the difficulty of getting utility bills paid by some renters and land contract buyers. In some cases, said city treasurer Crystal White, a land contract is written for the same property more than one time in a year. Some homes change hands often, much like rental property.
The issue was discussed again in March, but this time the discussion also included safety concerns. Because land contract sales are not part of the rental inspection plan, safety issues are not addressed by city officials.
The city’s fire chief and building inspector both expressed concerns about safety and a suggestion was made to require inspections whenever any residential property changes hands.
In the end, a proposal was drafted in which land contract sales would be considered rental units until the transactions were registered with the county.
“I’ve struggled with this issue quite a bit,” Morenci mayor Keith Pennington said.
He told council he would rather have all residences included rather than segregating a certain type of sale.
EXPIRATION—The council seat currently filled by Robert Jennings will expire in November. Jennings is filling the remainder of the office vacated by Joseph Varga.
Any resident interested in seeking office has until May 14 to file a petition of candidacy.
CLOSURE—Following a pair of public hearings, council voted to close out the ICE infrastructure grant for the parking lot project and the façade grant for the property at 203-205 W. Main St.
Councilor Tracy Schell said she’s heard many compliments from residents about the parking lot project. Mayor Pennington said he appreciated positive comments from a couple who were not supportive of the project at its start.
City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said it was one of the more difficult grants to administer, but it benefits many more people than some other city projects have.
Pennington said he was very impressed with the results of the façade project that includes the Subway restaurant, noting there was a time not too long ago that the building was about to be condemned and perhaps slated for demolition.
Schell said she is pleased that someone saw the potential of the building and invested in renovation. She also expressed her appreciation that the state government makes funds available for projects such as this that probably would not be possible without grant money.
FIREWORKS—Council heard the second reading of a proposed ordinance to change city law to match the new state regulations regarding the use of fireworks.
Police chief Larry Weeks reminded council that fireworks will now be legal over the Memorial Day weekend. He hopes residents using fireworks will be considerate of their neighbors.
MOWING—Royal Flush Septic, Lawn Care Division, was hired for a two-year contract to mow city property. The cost for weekly mowing is $250. The cost for property that will be mowed on a bi-weekly basis is $340.
TREES—Schroeder told council that Morenci achieved “Tree City USA” status again this year due to its program of caring for trees and replanting.
Mayor Pennington read an Arbor Day proclamation that urges residents to plant trees.
DDA—Council approved the following terms for Downtown Development Authority (DDA) members. Four-year terms: Tim Decker, president; Trisha Burrow, secretary; Delite Gillen; Teresa Chang; and Marsha Pierce. Two-year terms: Gail Johnson, vice president; Mike Broge, treasurer; Ken Fether; and Renée Schroeder.
In the future, all terms will be for four years.
Council voted to designate the mayor as the chief executive officer of the DDA. That designation is required but was not done in the past.
TRUCK—Council approved the purchase of a new dump truck at the cost of $76,538 and truck equipment for $36,954. Half of the cost will be paid through a clean diesel grant.
FIRE DEPT.—Kyle McClain has rejoined the fire department now that he has moved back to the Morenci area.
FESTIVAL—Council approved a list of events presented by the Town and Country Festival Committee. Representative Dale Long said the group tried to provide a range of musical events and intends to have more craft vendors.