Morenci city council 2014.03.12


Three candidates were interviewed to serve as Morenci’s interim police chief, but city council members are not yet ready to make their choice.

Instead, officer Don Thompson was named the officer in charge for an indefinite period. Thompson will assume the role March 16 when interim chief Ryan Hillard resigns to take a job with the Eaton Rapids Police Department. Morenci’s former chief, Larry Weeks, is now in charge of that department.

Council member Jeff Bell clarified that Thompson will be neither sergeant nor chief for now, but merely the person in charge of the office until a chief is named.

In addition to Thompson, two other chief candidates were interviewed: part-time Morenci officers Ronald Borck and George Truchan. Retired Hillsdale sheriff deputy Dave Braxmeier was expected to be in the running, but was unable to attend his interview session.

City administrator/clerk Michael Sessions will handle background checks on the candidates and then councilors will decide on their next step.

OHIO LAND—Council voted 6-1, with Robb Sweet in opposition, to sell approximately 16 acres of Ohio land located along the border of the industrial park. Josh Baumgartner offered a sealed bid of $2,500 an acre for the land.

Baumgartner owns the property on three sides of the land and another buyer would have required an easement onto the property.

Baumgartner was asked earlier this year if he had an interest in buying the property and he offered a price of $2,700 an acre. The offer was turned down by council because they were told by a real estate agent that Fulton County farm land should bring in at least $5,000 an acre.

Audience member Karen Sinks asked why such a low price would be accepted. The city recently received funds from a tax settlement with the York Hills apartment complex, she said, and council should be able to wait until a higher price was offered.

Sessions said there are still concerns about the health of the city’s general fund and that $41,000 will go a long way toward securing it. 

He added that since Baumgartner owns the property that surrounds the parcel, it makes sense for him to be the buyer.

FREEZE-UPS—City supervisor Lonnie Vanderpool said there were three frozen water lines reported last week and the recent warmer weather hasn’t ended the problem.

He told council that a leak in the library roof was fixed for a second time.

TOWER—Council accepted a bid of $98,000 to have the north water tower painted. The bid was $19,000 less than was what expected.

ELECTION—Poll workers were hired for the May school election. Gail Johnson will serve as chair, with help from Laurie Schisler, Megan Pike, Tonia Hoffman and Leasa Slocum. As a new member, Pike will be required to take a training class. Schisler will also take the class for recertification.

ELECTRICAL—Richard Curtis was hired as the city’s new electrical inspector following the resignation of Dean Newell. Lew Sprague will serve as an alternate.

FESTIVAL—Council approved a request from the Town and Country Festival committee to pay an Adrian radio station $1,100 for sponsorship of an event in trade for radio commercials.

This year’s festival is scheduled June 19-21.