Wakefield Township begins new fiscal year ‘better than ever’



Wakefield – Members of the Wakefield Township Board of Trustees voted Tuesday evening to approve their 2020-21 fiscal year budget, which included projected revenues of $224,520.

The vote included approval of a 4.63 millage, which Supervisor John Cox said was unchanged from the previous year.

“Our projected revenue has gone up substantially from last year, largely due to Northern National Gas Company taxes,” said Cox, who is also the board chair.

State revenue sharing also increased by 2.6%, and Cox said the township has saved by using LED lights and by shutting off streetlights next to vacant houses.

Projected expenses for the new fiscal year total $272,264, but Cox said the township typically does not spend the total of what is projected.

“A budget is just a snapshot of what you think you’re going to do, but that can change,” he said while presenting the numbers in a public hearing that drew no comments and only a small audience.

The budget included a 3% raise for board members. The supervisor, along with Treasurer Joan Dalman and Clerk Mandy Lake, each will earn the same adjusted salary of $17,627, up from $17,113 in the year now closing.

Trustees Jim Spencer and Jerry Niemi now will earn $3,537 each, up from $3,433 in the year now closing.

The township’s new fiscal year begins on April 1.

Cox reported additional good news in the way of a $500,000 fund balance, or enough to cover two years of expenditures in case of emergency.

“The bottom line is we’re doing very well,” said Cox after the meeting, and added, “better than we’ve ever done.”

The board also:

-Voted to authorize Cox to proceed with projected road improvements by the Gogebic County Road Commission this summer. The board expects to spend just over $50,000 on township roads.

-Voted to authorize Cox to proceed with arranging for the paving of the township hall parking lot, to the west of the building.

-Voted to authorize Cox to arrange for Brandon Yuchasz of Gogebic Range Net to proceed with constructing a tower at a value of about $50,000 directly east of the township hall. Yuchasz told board members that the new tower will help the company to enhance internet service within the industrial park and to provide the same service in township areas that are not now within service range.

-Voted to sell industrial park property on Chippewa Drive to Silver Lake Trucking at a cost of $1,000 per acre. Chris Lake, of the company, told board members that the business will have grown to five employees as of this summer, and they would like to construct a 40 x 60-ft. building near Extreme Tool.

-Heard Cox encourage members of the township to submit petitions to run as board officers of the township by the April 21 deadline.

-Voted to accept the schedule of meeting dates for the next fiscal year.

The board’s next regular meeting will be on April 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The township hall also will be open for the primary election and 911 ballot issue on March 10 from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.