By DAVID GREEN
Morenci city council relinquished its interest in the former M&S Manufacturing buildings on Salisbury Street, a move that would allow the Economic Development Corporation of Lenawee County (EDC) to sell the property.
The EDC received an offer to buy the two buildings, explained council’s Finance and Legal committee chair Jeff Bell. He made a motion for the city to release its second lien on the property which would allow the sale.
The action should also remove council’s previous decision to purchase the property, said mayor Keith Pennington.
Councilor Brenda Spiess stated that she won’t support the motion because Morenci invested money in the buildings that was never recouped.
An earlier deal with the EDC, she reminded council, would give the city ownership of the property and the opportunity to market the buildings. On the other hand, the motion on the table would allow the sale of the property at a very low price without making the city whole again.
There’s an additional danger that the buildings could be scrapped, she said.
“I would rather try to market them appropriately and try to make a better deal,” Spiess said.
Conversely, Bell said, there’s a danger that the aging structures couldn’t be sold and then the city would be stuck with the property, without any tax revenue.
Pennington said that a decision presents a dilemma: take a small amount of money now or spend more money in hopes of getting more later.
A motion to release the city’s lien passed on a 4-2 vote, with Spiess and Pennington in opposition. Only Spiess opposed a second motion to rescind the city’s offer to buy the property.
Council member Tracy Schell explained the reasoning for her vote. The city was in line to receive the property for $1, but it was later learned there were $5,000 in back taxes owed on the property.
Allowing the EDC to sell the property will wipe out the back taxes and direct a portion of the sale price to Morenci.
Audience member Bill Foster said he knows the individual who wants to buy the buildings and move his company to Morenci. He thinks it will be good for the community.
FESTIVAL—Foster, a member of the Town and Country Festival committee, told council members that he thought this year’s festival was a success overall. He appreciated the expanded array of rides offered by the carnival.
The rodeo resulted in a loss of $4,600 and he expects the committee will replace that event next year, maybe with truck and tractor pulls.