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 2012.11.28

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette village council members think that investing in a new backhoe now will save cash in the future thanks to a generous state purchasing plan.

Maintenance coordinator Matt Moats told council last week the village has spent about $9,000 in the past two years to repair the backhoe and about $13,000 needs to be invested in maintenance during the next year, including replacement of the bushings.

Moats said the village would receive $19,000 to trade in its current unit and a discount of $63,000 through the state purchase plan. This would lower the cost of a new $140,000 backhoe to $58,000.

Moats suggested a three-year trade-in plan because the village could trade in the new backhoe and receive more than what was spent initially for the purchase. The trade-in money could then be used to buy a new unit.

“Eventually it would pay for itself,” said councilor David Borer.

Council member Julia Ruger said there are village employees who would like a pay raise, but instead $58,000 would be spent on a backhoe.

“I have a problem spending this kind of money right now,” she said.

“That’s one thing no one is going to understand,” answered chief financial officer Liza Zuver. “The raises would not come out of these funds.”

Zuver explained that the use of certain funds is restricted. In this case, money in the street fund could not be used to pay police salaries, for example, but it could be used for equipment that will be used with street work.

Street funds come from the state primarily through taxes paid on gasoline and license fees. 

“People automatically assume you can get the money from anywhere,” said mayor Ruth Marlatt, “but it can’t be used for anything else. This money is for specific uses and this is one thing we can use it on.”

Zuver said there is $92,000 in the street fund. If council votes at the next meeting to buy the backhoe, it could be paid for in one lump sum or partially from a loan. Ruger suggested half and half and Zuver said she will check on interest rates.

Moats said that if the village spent $13,000 to refurbish the backhoe, it might last another 13 years but would have very little resale value and might require additional work. He expects no maintenance costs other than oil changes with a three-year plan.

“If the [resale] offer isn’t good enough, we can keep it,” said village administrator Steve Blue. “We’re not locked into it.”

STREETS—Dave Wheeler asked if the village was moving backwards with street paving because so many old water lines need to be replaced and the new pavement will need to be dug up.

Zuver noted that funds aren’t available for water line replacement now, but the water plant loan will be paid in 2018, along with another loan ending, and then the village might consider gradually replacing lines.

Police chief Jason Simon wondered if village workers could replace the lines on Mill Street before paving since breaks occur there frequently.

POLICE—Chief Simon told council that he’s putting in an extremely large number of overtime hours due to a shortage of personnel and he suggested hiring another full-time officer.

Simon said he will continue to work the overtime when needed.

“People are paying for coverage and I’m going to give it to them,” he said.

WATER—Jeff Merillat has offered to serve as a backup to Tom Rupp as the licensed water plant operator. Merillat will take classes, if needed, to keep his license up to date.

SEWER PROJECT—Blue said there are just a few signatures needed for property easements and he doesn’t anticipate any problems with the project moving forward.

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