2016 July Newsletter
ELECTION OF TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS
Just like all of Michigan Townships, the Wakefield Township Board
seats expire on November 20, 2016 at 11:59 pm. Incumbents Supervisor John Cox, Clerk Mandy Lake, Treasurer Joan Dalman and Trustee Jim Spencer have indicated they will seek 4 year terms again. It is with great regret that Trustee Delmar Smith has decided not to seek re-election for another term.
In addition to incumbent James Spencer, two other trustee candidates have filed for the primary election on August 2, 2016 and they are Michael Heikkila and Gerald Niemi. For more information or questions about the upcoming elections you may contact Wakefield Township Clerk Mandy Lake at 906-364-0669. The General Election is November 8, 2016.
The media has reported extensively on the Flint, Michigan water situation. In Wakefield Township, if your water is supplied by the City of Wakefield or Gogebic Range Water Authority, your water has tested at safe levels below the federal guidelines. You should be aware that these tests are not done
in every individual home, therefore older homes with homeowner water lines may have higher lead content or other factors that could be above the recommended levels.
Most of us have private water wells. The quality of this water can be affected by naturally occurring contaminants and/or the pipes and fixtures in the home that contain harmful contaminants.
If you are unsure about the quality of your water there are a number of water tests that can
be done by you. As an example, for their water testing, the GRWA and City of Wakefield use Whitewater Associates Inc. in Amasa, MI Phone (906) 822-7889. They have a website that explains the various tests if you are interested.
If you want further information you can call the Western U.P. Health Department water contact person at (906) 482-7382, Ext. 124.
Fire Numbers and Addressing-We Need Your Help!
This summer we are going to be completing the fire number sign/address installation. We need your help in maintaining these signs. These reflective signs are very expensive- $25 each, plus the stake and installation. We are placing them on the road right of way in front of your house. Prior to doing the installation, we call the Diggers Hotline 811 when necessary, to make sure the stake doesn’t cut your electric, gas, cable, or water line. If you prefer to place them on your own property to avoid snow plow damage etc, please feel free to do so. We will not be replacing the signs if they are damaged due to negligence. Remember that these signs can be life and property savers by assuring that our first respond-ers and delivery people can locate you. With the hiring of new sheriff deputies, new Michigan State Police troopers, ambulance personnel and other first responders, it is important that they have accurate address information since many are new to this area.
Burn Barrels and Burn Permits
The state law allows you to use burn barrels for items like paper, brush and wood, but you may not burn household waste that contains plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, chemicals, or hazardous materials. Please use common sense when you burn, and if you have a neighbor close by, please cooperate with them by selecting a time to burn. The township has not adopted an ordinance banning burn barrels, has no plans to do so, but be aware that the Michigan DNR can enforce the law concerning burning the banned substances. There are no formal written permits required for open burning, but you should check out the MDNR website to see if burning restrictions are in force – http://www.dnr.state.mi.us/burnpermits , or 906-353-6651
This year we had a very successful cleanup. It was held for two days and 12.4 tons of trash were disposed of in addition to several buckets of metal. Thanks to all of you who participated and who continually work to keep our township looking good. A special thanks to Western U.P. Recycling Center who provided a place for the cleanup and who monitored and helped out with the effort.
Blighted Properties and Building permits
Wakefield Township has contracted the enforcement of our blight ordinance to the City of Ironwood. We are finding this to be more cost effective, since they have a full time blight officer who has the training and experience in the enforcement practices. We also would like to remind those who are building or adding on to their existing homes to call the Clerk 364-0669 or visit our website for a permit application and to contact Donald Saari who is our Zoning Administrator and our long time building inspector. Our permits are the most reasonably priced in the state and we are asking for your compliance in this matter as well. Failure to obtain a permit may result in enforcement of our zoning ordinance which authorizes up to a $100 per day fine for not obtaining one.
We encourage everyone to view our website. We will be updating and rebuilding the site over the next few months. You can find applications for building permits, absentee voter forms, phone numbers, zoning ordinances, economic development information, links to businesses in Wakefield Township, recreational sites, a calendar of events, meeting minutes, some nice pictures of our area and township demographics. Our Deputy Treasurer, Shelley Nordine, updates the site often, makes corrections, and sees to it that the information is current and relevant. Our website address is http://www.wakefieldtownship.com
The township sets the budget priorities based on our goals. Here is a list of our goals for 2016 and 2017
· Continue to provide support to the proposed
Indianhead Hotel and Casino Project
· Continue to secure and investigate possibili-
ties for motorized ATV and snowmobile trails, to work towards building an ATV scramble park in the township and continue to
support non-motorized across Gogebic Coun-ty.
· Continue to improve and pave roads.
· Continue to provide support to the proposed
Highland Mine Project- including permitting, infrastructure, and other services necessary to see the project to its fruition.
· Continue our efforts in bringing blighted properties into compliance in the township
· Complete new address-fire number signs for the remainder of the township.
· Continue to monitor the functions and support of the Solid Waste Authority.
· Monitor the functions of the Road Commission, by having the supervisor meet with Road Com-
mission monthly or as needed and report back to the Board.
· Continue to pursue natural gas service for Wakefield Township Johnson Road area in co-operation with Xcel Energy
· Work pro-actively with 911 Committee and other agencies to react to emergencies in Wakefield Township which include ski-hill evacuation, pipeline emergencies, power outages, water etc.
· Update our Web Site
Our fund balance as of 3-3-15 was $559,867. Our balanced budget for 16-17 has Revenues of $196,095 and Expenditures of $196,095. The Board reduced some categories of funding this year including no raises for the Board or the employees.
Assessments and Board of Review Date
The July Board of Review will meet on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 5 p.m. in the Wakefield Township Hall. This meeting is for errors and omissions, principal resident exemption and to consider poverty exemptions.
As we stated last year, the State Tax Commission is requiring that local governments reassess
at least 20% of the property in their jurisdiction each year. Therefore, this year, Wakefield Township complied again; by completing the assessments on some parts of the east, west and north sides of
the township. Our assessor is Melissa Prisbe and if you have any questions about your property assessment please call her at 906-364-2910. If you are planning to build and are wondering approximately how much your tax will be, she can help you with that important information or you can visit our website and link to the State of Michigan Property tax calculator.
The township will be purchasing $10,000 of material for use on a machine called the Total Patcher. This has been used extensively on county and state roads with good results. Last year the township had several areas patched with good results as well. The Total Patcher will be in Wakefield Township throughout the early summer. We did not budget for an early roadside mowing prior to July 4, because the cost to the township was becoming too great. The road commission will be doing regular mowing throughout the townships after the state roads are completed, most likely in July. Thanks goes out to the residents who maintain the roadsides in their neighborhoods.