Morenci city council 2012.04.11

Written by David Green.

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.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.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.

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