Wakefield Township Board sets budget

By IAN MINIELLY iminielly@yourdailyglobe.com

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP – The Wakefield Township Board met Tuesday and considered next year’s budget, which must be in place by March 31, according to supervisor John Cox. The 2017-’18 fiscal year budget did not require any amendments, according to Cox. The 2018-’19 budget had multiple highlights called out to the board. Resident garbage collection will remain at the $10 rate for another three years and the millage rate is set at 4.4683. The budget shows a state revenue sharing increase of 2.6 percent, but that is offset by a declining population, resulting in no real dollar increase for the township. The budget continues eliminating health and life insurance for all officers and board members, saving up to $100,000 per budget year. Salary increases of 2 percent were authorized for the board and custodian. Deputies and other employees remained the same. Blacktopping portions of Indianhead Road and County 519 are included. The department of public works will chip-seal Old U.S. 2 and Sampson Road to preserve existing blacktop. The township did not receive a tire grant this year, but chose to fund spring clean-up for 1.5 days. The township does not have any debts. There is a threat from Lansing regarding potential water rate increases if a bill with newly proposed filtering regulations on lead and copper is passed. Cox said the new requirements, if passed, would exceed federal guidelines and would require the township residents in the Indianhead subdivision to shoulder higher costs, since they are served by the Gogebic Range Water Authority. The Michigan Township Association is opposed to the bill’s passage because of the costs that will burden township residents across the state. Residents on Johnson Road are going to be affected while Xcel Energy runs new high-power lines to serve the new compressor station near Jackson Creek. MI-Trail and supervisors from Wakefield, Marenisco and the township met to discuss plans for how MI-Trail will manage the off-road vehicle trail from Marenisco to Wakefield. Cox said they are developing a good plan and will meet again in April and finalize it.