Wakefield Township to switch garbage collectors in spring

By RICHARD JENKINS rjenkins@yourdailyglobe.com WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP (from Daily Globe) —

Wakefield Township residents will see a new truck collecting their garbage this spring, as the township recently switched collection services to the Gogebic Range Solid Waste Management Authority. The change will take effect April 1, after the township board awarded the contract to the authority’s low bid. According to Wakefield Township Supervisor John Cox, the authority is charging the township a monthly fee of $14.35 per household. The township’s previous collector, Waste Management, submitted a bid of $21.73 per household, with increases in the second and third year of the contract. The authority’s contract had no increases. Collections will stay on Mondays, according to authority administrator Chris Ann Bressette. Residents won’t be on the hook for the entire amount, Cox said, as the township will continue to cover a portion of the fee. “The township subsides garbage pickup … (residents) paid $8 before and we paid the remainder, now they’re going to pay $10 and we’ll pay the other $4.35 for them,” he told the Daily Globe. “That means there will be no raises because (the authority) is not going to raise our price for three years. The township residents will be paying $10 a month for three years.” The prices quoted by Waste Management would have necessitated an increase in both the township’s and residents’ contributions, Cox said. Other benefits to going with authority, according to Cox, include the fact its employees reside in Gogebic County and there is a local number — rather than a general 1-800 number — to call with issues. “The other thing is, spring cleanup is included in the contract. So that saves our general fund some money, and we can even expand our cleanup a little bit if we want to,” Cox said. He also said the local transfer station will allow residents to pay bills in person. While the township is no longer using Waste Management, Cox praised its past service. “I did have a number of calls asking, ‘Why are you changing,’” he said. “We have been provided for the last six years with excellent service. We had no problems with their service, their employees were great.” Where the garbage goes once it is collected won’t change with the company — because as a member of the authority, Wakefield Township had an ordinance requiring Waste Management take its waste to the authority’s transfer station. Wakefield Township will continue to not recycle, with Cox explaining he felt it wasn’t cost effective. “We’re not interested in that, many of our residents have burn barrels,” he said. The authority also collects garbage in Bessemer, Ironwood and Marenisco townships. The city of Wakefield and Bessemer are also members, with garbage collecting provided by a different company, although Bessemer is currently attempting to leave the authority.