The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Fayette council seeks replacement of levies 2012.08.01

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette residents will face a difficult choice in November when they will be asked to increase the taxes they pay.

Passage of the request, however, will lead to something most residents will appreciate: new pavement on village streets.

As village council members try to deal with a shortage of cash, one means of bolstering village finances is to consider voting for a replacement of the existing 2.9-mill levy rather than a renewal.

Ever since the levy was first established in 1968, voters have been asked only to renew the levy every five years. This means that property valuations are still tied to those from more than 40 years ago. By “replacing” the levy, valuations would be brought up to current levels and that results in higher taxes paid.

If approved by voters in November, the new values would not take effect until 2014 since the existing levy continues through 2013.

Village solicitor Tom Thompson told council members at the July 25 meeting that taxpayers need to realize that they’re already paying most of what the new rate would become. He characterized the increase as relatively small.

Examples of how taxes would increase will be provided to residents before the election. Voters will also be asked to replace the existing 2.0-mill park levy.

The idea for seeking the replacement came from concerns about obtaining a $400,000 street resurfacing grant. All streets torn up through the sewer separation project will be repaired and resurfaced through the Long Term Control Plan sewer project. However, that leaves several streets remaining in their present condition.

Former village administrator Amy Metz applied for a $400,000 grant to resurface the remaining streets. The village was awarded the money, but half the cost must be paid through a zero-interest loan to be repaid over 10 years.

The Village doesn’t have the needed $20,400 for an annual loan payment, but as village fiscal officer Lisa Zuver pointed out at the July 11 committee meeting, it’s an offer that’s too good to let slip by. That led to the idea of a replacement levy.

Village administrator Steve Blue said that the poor condition of village streets is generally the top concern expressed by residents. Combine that with a one-time opportunity to have resurfacing done at half price, he said, and it leads council to ask for help from residents at the polls in November.

“Council has been very hesitant to do anything to increase taxes and has over the last several years pared its budget while revenues from the state have decreased,” Blue wrote in a statement before the meeting. “We expect another decrease in state funding to municipalities to be announced in August so if we are to have streets that are in good condition it is imperative that this tax levy is passed.”

Council members took the first step at their meeting last week by passing a resolution to ask the county auditor’s office to determine the amount of money that would be raised by the replacement levy. A preliminary estimate came in at $21,000, a figure that would almost exactly cover the loan cost.

Council voted 5-0 to approve the resolution, with councilor Mat Johnson absent.

The final step was expected today in a special council meeting to look at the auditor’s report and pass a resolution to place the request on the November ballot.

Councilor Julia Ruger suggested scheduling a public meeting to explain the road project and the replacement request.

When village council members considered seeking a replacement levy for 2.9-mill tax in December 2007, the county auditor estimated that the owner of a $75,000 house would pay about $1.20 a week extra.

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