By DAVID GREEN
Morenci city council members voted Dec. 14 to re-authorize the Community Development Block Grant for Kamco Industries, but now making new mayor Jeff Bell the person to sign documents on behalf of the City.
The $250,000 grant pays for on-the-job training when the factory opens. Production in Morenci still hinges on the arrival of equipment that is being built in France.
The grant specifies that at least 51 percent of those hired must be classified as low to moderate income, and further specifies a timetable for new job creation. Kamco representatives worked with the Michigan Economic Development Commission to create a hiring schedule: at least 20 jobs must be created by Sept. 30, 2016; at least 40 jobs by March 31, 2017; at least 60 jobs by Sept. 30, 2017. Job training is to commence in April, 2016.
The jobs can be held by a combination of new employees and current employees who transfer to Morenci, and they must be hired by Kamco and not through a temporary job agency.
City administrator/clerk Michael Sessions said the company intends to operate three shifts at the Morenci branch.
INSURANCE—Council made two insurance decisions, one for employees and one for the City.
Councilors voted to continue to buy general liability insurance through the Michigan Township Participating Plan (MTPP) for $31,541 annually. The agent selling the MTPP plan, from the Berends Hendricks Stuit company, offered a three-year rate guarantee and the price is $229 cheaper than the current year.
One bid came in at $24,500 higher and another at $44 cheaper, but council decided to stay with MTPP since it has served the city since 2007.
Sessions spoke with council members about purchasing cyber liability insurance that would be used if the City's computer network were breached and data stolen. The City would then be responsible for informing all individuals whose data was taken.
Two companies that provided a bid for liability insurance offered cyber insurance with a limit of $50,000, a figure considered low for an agency that deals with data including police and ambulance service information.
In January, Sessions will begin collecting information to provide $1 million coverage.
Council voted to continue providing health insurance from Blue Cross for seven full-time employees. By changing to a PPO plan, the total cost would shrink by $1,290 to $48,177. The plan now covers annual vision checks.
The Simply Blue plan is purchased through Gurdjian and Associates in Adrian.
Council voted to renew the state policy that requires employees to cover 20 percent of their insurance cost.
INCREASE—Council voted to give city employees a three percent wage increase, part of a budget adjustment following the approval of the Stair District Library millage.
POLICIES—Council approved several changes to the personnel policy handbook. Fire fighters are now listed as W-9 employees. Department heads are expected to own a cellular phone, but if they choose to use their own rather than one provided by the City, they will be given a $40 a month stipend.
If a City employee retires before the age of 65, he or she would have the option of continuing the health insurance plan by paying the entire cost. A spouse or widow(er) could do the same.
AMBULANCE—The motor in the reserve ambulance owned by the Morenci Area EMS needed to be replaced, but it was under warranty because it was installed only about a year ago. The primary ambulance was in the shop at the time, said EMS director Chad Corbin, and an ambulance was borrowed for four days from the Addison department.
FIRE FIGHTER—Travis Hill was approved as a new member of the Morenci Fire Department. He obtained previous experience with the Camden department.
POLICE—The police department will continue to send half of its state training funds to a five-county consortium where several training components are obtained.
The state money must be used for training, explained chief Michael Creswell.
TREES—Council approved an application to apply for continuing Tree City USA status. In 2015, $7,350 was spent on tree and stump removal and $1,049 was spent to plant 10 trees.