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.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • 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.

Mayor sees revenue decline

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Cuts in services or higher taxes—one of those two directions will have to be followed, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington told city council members April 8.

Although the city has no long-term pension liabilities like many communities, Morenci will have to make do with with less revenue in the next year, he said.

“I’m urging council to re-examine the services we provide, to think about the core mission of city government,” the mayor said.

In his opinion, that means a safe water supply, streets and public safety.

In order to keep the city viable without raising taxes, the tax base will have to increase, he said, either through improvements or new industry.

“In the coming weeks, we will be discussing what services to strengthen, to cut back or to eliminate,” Pennington said. “Citizens need to consider what are their priorities and what to cut. Are you willing to pay more taxes? The revenue does not match up to what we’ve had in the past.”

City council will have to make some difficult choices. As an example, discussion has included closing the recycling center now that free curbside service is offered.

Audience member Bill Foster asked if the city has considered selling any of its property at a cheap price.

Pennington said that council will evaluate the vacant Morenci Area Hospital land on Sims Highway and also the adjacent building that was built as the hospital clinic. Interest has been expressed in the N.W.D. building at the back of Wakefield Park.

“We’ve been working with a consultant on developing a marketing plan not only for our property but for the Palm Plastics building,” Pennington said.

Several things are going on behind the scenes, including a tax incentive ordinance for commercial property.

Foster asked if the City still owns land in Ohio by the industrial park and whether that could be sold.

Pennington said it could be sold, but discussions in the past have favored retaining the land for use as a detention pond or for a substation, should there be new development in the park.

Audience member Ron Apger asked about the option to buy land on the east side of Morenci for an expanded industrial park. Apger wondered why the property owners haven’t been informed that they would become part of the city.

It’s only an option to buy, Pennington said, but if it were purchased, it’s likely that council would want the land annexed.

Apger asked where money for the purchase would come from and the mayor responded that the budget for the next year has not yet been established.

Pennington said that council would likely seek a loan, such as the 10-year mortgage used in the existing industrial park. The money spent on that has come back in tax revenue two to three times over, he said.

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