Morenci city council 2014.04.02

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci’s general fund is in better shape than it was in February, but a transfer of money from the contingency fund was  still needed. It was approved last week by city council.

Jeff Bell, chair of council’s finance and legal committee, suggested transferring $50,000 to “ensure that the general fund stays healthy.” Council approved the motion unanimously.

“It was known that we would have to take something out of contingency,” explained city administrator/clerk Michael Sessions. “With the Baumgartner sale [of industrial park land located in Ohio] not being complete yet, without transferring these funds over, we wouldn’t be able to have a positive cash flow after the outstanding checks are paid.”

Once the sale is complete, revenue will grow by $41,000 and an additional $60,000 is expected by the end of April, mostly through state revenue sharing and township fire contract payments.

After the transfer, $57,000 will remain in CDs that mature in 2019.

Sessions will also explore the possibility of extending the Main Street project bond repayment an additional seven years to lower the annual payments and obtain a lower interest rate.

Cash flow problems arose earlier in the year when Sessions realized that a loan of $50,000 from the water fund was not paid back during the previous fiscal year.

Council members were aware of the loan, explained councilor Brenda Spiess this week, but they were under the impression that it would be repaid in the same fiscal year.

“The fact was, it was not and it was paid back in the new fiscal year with new fiscal year funds,” she said, and this led to an overestimate of revenue.

The problem has been addressed, she said, and the incident proved to be a good lesson learned for council.

“Council has set a goal to have a 20 percent savings balance in three years,” Spiess said, “and Michael is doing all he can to try to accomplish that goal so loans like that are not needed at all.”

FENCES—Following a public hearing, council approved an amendment to the fence ordinance that allows a fence to be built on the property line if a survey is first obtained.

COMPENSATION—Council voted to continue requiring employees to pay 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance, to comply with state law.

OPT OUT—Council voted to permanently suspend re-imbursement to employees who chose to opt out of the city health insurance plan.

PLANNERS—A public hearing is scheduled April 14 to collect opinion on an update to the city’s planning commission ordinance. An updated ordinance is long overdue.

EAGLES—Council voted to approve a request by the Eagles club for a one-night license that would allow them to serve alcohol to the public for a special event.

POLICE—Officer-in-charge Don Thompson was given permission to move forward in an effort to hire a part-time police officer. This will help reduce overtime hours by other officers.

ZORN—State Rep. Dale Zorn introduced himself to city council and announced that he will seek the state senate seat that will cover Monroe and Lenawee counties.