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

  • 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.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • 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.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Fayette village council 2012.08.01

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Frustration with spending by Fayette’s park board was discussed by council members at the July 25 meeting.

Questions were asked about whether fees charged for summer ball participation are covering costs, and whether fund-raising efforts by the park board are sufficient.

Village administrator Steve Blue said he spoke with park director Nick Ramos and told him that the board needed to cut back.

“Cut back?” asked councilor Julia Ruger.

With $42,000 spent, she suggested that it was a little late to be cutting back.

Village fiscal officer Lisa Zuver said she can almost guarantee the board will not bring in enough revenue this year to cover expenses.

Zuver wondered if the director only reports to park board or if council approval is needed. She suggested that maybe the board has too much authority.

Village solicitor Tom Thompson said the park budget should be established by council and the decision about how to spend the money is up to the board.

Zuver wondered how closely the board looks at the budget and who it reports to.

Mayor Ruth Marlatt asked Zuver to prepare a report on where the park board budget currently stands. Board members can examine the document at their next meeting.

“They need to realize that we’re not just saying there’s no money,” Marlatt said. “They knew when they were making those expenditures that things were tight. We need to make them aware of the fact that they’ve gone beyond ‘tight’.”

Zuver encouraged council members to look through the finance report and see where money was spent to have their questions answered.

“They need to know we’re concerned,” Marlatt said.

TAX—Blue noted in his report that income tax collections are more than $60,000 behind last year’s amount at this time of the year, although the second quarter report is not yet complete.

Similarly, utility collections are running $13,000 behind for the second quarter. Delinquent payments to the village total $43,700 or 18 percent of billings. That number is far too high, Blue said, and he aims to make a stronger effort to collect.

“After talking with Lisa [Zuver],” he said, “it’s apparent our collection efforts are not sufficient.”

GRANT—Blue said that council should learn before Oct. 25 whether or not the village will receive a $600,000 grant to contribute to the sewer project. When the outcome is known, bids can be sought.

METERS—The grant for water meter replacement is for $22,000 and requires $3,000 from the village. Many questions remain about the grant, such as whether the village can buy new meters and install them as needed rather than tackle the entire village at once, which would cost more than $200,000. 

The village has a large inventory of old meters and Blue will find out whether they can still be used, despite containing some pieces with lead. Only lead-free meters will be available in the future.

EMERGENCY—Council appointed police chief Jason Simon as its representative to a county-wide emergency management board meeting to discuss various issues such as new radios. The board was established when the county began using the 911 emergency system, but it’s been inactive.

CAR WASH—Eagle Car Wash is back in operation, but Blue said he denied a request for the owners to dig their own well but still use the village sewer system.

Council’s Public Works committee recommended denying the request.

AUDIT—The semiannual village audit turned up five findings that Blue described as minor. Zuver made corrections to satisfy the auditors.

TREE CUTTING—Only Knisel offered a bid for Phase 5 of the tree removal plan. The bid was for $3,200, but the Finance committee wants to review the trees scheduled for cutting before make a recommendation to council. The cutting might be delayed for a year.

RANGE—The Public Safety committee discussed public use of the shooting range and suggested that no further action is needed.

PAY—Effective July 23, maintenance supervisor Tom Clemensen’s pay rate is $14.45 an hour.

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