By DAVID GREEN
Morenci's Department of Public Works employees will soon follow city hall workers in changing to a four-day work week until winter weather moves in.
Starting Monday, the DPW will work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday through Dec. 1. No date was established yet for a return to "summer hours" in the spring. The workers will be on duty from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a half hour for lunch.
The DPW currently quits for the day at 4 p.m. and the extra late afternoon hour is expected to help in some cases with meter reading and in providing service to people after they get out of work.
Council voted 7-0 to approve the change. Councilor Rebecca Berger said she was willing to approve the trial run, but she has some concerns about the plan.
City supervisor Lonnie Vanderpool said the schedule is used in many other communities and some county agencies.
TREES—City administrator/clerk Michael Sessions received council's approval to seek bids for the removal of eight trees in need of cutting. He and Vanderpool drove around the city and identified 25 trees to be removed, but this year's budget doesn't allow for all of them to be cut.
Young trees are planted every year to replace and fill in empty areas. Property owners should call city hall to be placed on a list of where trees are needed.
LIBRARY—Stair Public Library director Colleen Leddy reported that $2,227 was pledged through the auction of Polly Link art that was donated to the library. She credited board member Kym Ries with spearheading the project.
FIRE—Colin Richardson and Brennan Mellon were approved as new members of the fire department. Fire chief Brad Lonis said the squad is designated to have up to 35 members and now has 32. He expects that some veteran members will retire in the next few years.
Council approved the purchase of four pagers at a cost of $1,800. Several cannot be repaired, Lonis said, and a few others will become obsolete.
LIGHTING—Consumers Energy's city lighting audit was approved by council, giving the utility permission to begin replacing some street lights with higher efficiency bulbs.
Many communities see a reduction in costs through the audit, said council member Brenda Spiess, but Morenci faces a slight increase. With the new bulbs, however, the city's costs should decrease over time, Sessions said.
DRUGS—Mayor Bill Foster noted that a recent death from a drug overdose was not the first one in recent months.
"I think it's something we need to address in the city before we lose any more kids," he said.
Foster said he has spoken to school officials about a public awareness campaign.