Morenci city council 2012.02.29

Posted in 2012 February

By DAVID GREEN

Certain land contract purchases could become part of the city’s rental inspection plan if city council members approve a proposed ordinance change.

The change would affect several residents, said mayor Keith Pennington, and he welcomes public comment about the plan.

The issue was discussed and tabled at the Feb. 13 meeting, but Pennington presented a proposal Monday that would include land contract purchases in the inspection plan if they are not registered with the county deeds office.

If the change were made, said city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder, the city’s building inspector would be allowed inside to make safety inspections.

Several properties are listed as available for rent or for sale and a land contract agreement is signed rather than paying monthly rent. 

“It the change is approved,” Pennington said, “it might bring a lot of land contracts back to rentals.”

Every time the property changes ownership, another safety inspection would be required, where rental properties are inspected only once every five years.

“The owners might find there’s more advantages as a rental,” the mayor said.

TASER—Council approved a request by police chief Larry Weeks for the purchase of a Taser electroshock weapon. Money will come from the police department’s equipment fund.

Weeks said he had some hesitation with making the purchase until legal issues were cleared and more training options available. He’s glad he waited because technology has improved.

With the county sheriff’s department cutting back and a state police office closing, Weeks said he wants his department to have the best tools available, including the Taser.

Continuing training is needed to operate the device.

UPGRADE—Council approved a motion to seek bids for an electrical upgrade at Wakefield Park. The city electrical inspector said the transformer near the old ball diamond should be twice the size of the existing unit. 

City treasurer Crystal White, who is a member of the Town and Country Festival committee, said there were electrical problems at the last festival and some vendors have inquired whether improvements will be made.

Another electrical problem at the festival last year was related to equipment owned by Consumers and that was replaced.

PROPERTY—Council voted unanimously to approve a covenant deed for the transfer of the ProMedica property to the city. Pennington reminded council that the deed includes a 20-year restriction on using the property for an enterprise that ProMedica would consider competing with its operations in Morenci.

Pennington said his understanding is that the restriction would be removed if ProMedica’s current use of adjacent property ends.

GRANTS—The city received a 50 percent match state grant to pay half the cost of a new dump truck through a clean diesel program. The truck is expected to cost about $130,000.

City supervisor Barney Vanderpool and assistant clerk Leasa Slocum attended a workshop about program. Schroeder was told that their grant application was considered among the best submitted.

A $3,000 grant for trees was given by Consumers Energy. The grant will be used to partially cover the cost of landscaping in the parking lot project.

JUDGMENT—Council voted 6-1 to accept a consent judgment regarding former employee Stephanie Mossing. Mossing is repaying the city about $9,500 in tuition money that was spent before she left for another job. The judgment calls for repayment over the next year.

Jell Bell opposed the motion, believing the money should be paid to the city immediately.

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