The following letter has been provided to the State Line Observer for publication on October 11, 2017 regarding the City of Morenci's Notice of Intent to Bond:
The purpose of this letter is to dispel any rumors, falsehoods, or misconceptions regarding the recent Notice of Intent to Bond that the Morenci City Council approved on September 25, 2017. The Notice of Intent to Bond is to help pay for various projects in the next few years that the Morenci City Council has identified in it’s Capital Improvement Plan (which was approved with the Fiscal Year Budget in May). Projects identified in the plan for the next few years, and for which the Morenci City Council is seeking funding for, are the following:
· Up to $400,000.00 for EMS addition / renovation
· Up to $400,000.00 for complete re-build of Locust Street between East Street North & Page Street (road surface, water, and sanitary)
· Up to $200,000.00 for complete re-build of West Chestnut Street between Clark Street & Salisbury Street (road surface, water, and sanitary)
· Up to $200,000.00 for matching funds for the bridge grants that were received by the City of Morenci in 2016 (The City of Morenci is responsible for paying for the costs of engineering and five  percent of the bridge project)
· Up to $300,000.00 for the relocation of the waterline on the east-end of the community as the current waterline runs in concert with the East Main Street bridge
· Up to $800,000.00 for growth of Hammontree Drive (includes build-out of a dirt road, water, and sanitary)
These projects for funding have been identified through an intensive process of meetings with City staff, City engineers (Poggemeyer Design Group), and our Morenci City Council. Several of the projects identified were cited as needed improvements in our Asset Management Plan that was completed in 2016. All estimates provided are on the high-end, and such numbers have been deeply considered by all of the aforementioned individuals. It is likely that the true number for each project identified will be less than we have estimated due to our high forecasts. The true number for each project will not be known for each project until the projects have been sealed-bid.
By the way the notice is written, it would appear that the Morenci City Council would be taking on all of the debt at once. That is not the plan. The plan is to begin the process of letting our residents know of the plan to incur debt throughout the next few years, while bonding out for each project in stages based upon the readiness of the project.
It is important to note that no increase in millage rates is being sought (i.e. no increase in property taxes), which is the reason why the financing does not have to go in front of the voters for approval. The plan moving forward is to simply replace retiring debt with new debt in order to progress our community. Furthermore, the debt incurred with these projects will be scattered throughout several funds within the City of Morenci, which allows for payment of the debt by several different fund balances of the City of Morenci.
In closing, if you have any questions regarding this letter or the vision that we are setting forth for the community, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than willing to discuss each project with you in further detail.
Jeffrey D. Bell
Mayor, City of Morenci