Wakefield Township to vote on new board member Jan. 19

By P.J. GLISSON news@yourdailyglobe.com WAKEFIELD – Applications for an open slot on the Wakefield Township Board of Trustees will be accepted until Jan. 15. The seat opened when former Trustee Gerald “Jerry” Niemi died on Dec. 19 of last year after ongoing health issues. At a Tuesday evening meeting of the board, Supervisor Mandy Lake said only one person so far has shown possible interest in the position. Applicants must have been residents of the township for the past 30 days and also must be registered electors – that is, registered to vote. The board will have a special meeting on Jan. 19 to interview applicants, after which they will vote to choose the new trustee, who then will be sworn in immediately. Due to pending state rulings in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lake said she is not sure yet whether that meeting will be virtual or in person at the Wakefield Township Hall. Whoever joins the board will be eligible to serve the full four-year term to which Niemi had just been elected on Nov. 3 of last year. In other news, board members voted to approve training options for members of the Board of Trustees, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Review. Most sessions are now virtual, but they traditionally include sites such as Houghton or Lansing. Lake explained that the training is not mandatory but encouraged board members to consider undertaking sessions in relation to their individual needs. “I think the more training you can get, the better,” she said. In related news, the board also voted to confirm the 2021 IRS mileage rate of 56 cents per mile. Lake explained that members opting to travel for out-of-town training would be reimbursed at the new rate. The board also: —Agreed with the supervisor’s suggestion to table appointing anyone to an open slot on the Planning Commission, which meets quarterly. Lake suggested waiting until the pending new trustee also could provide input. “I think that’s fine,” said Treasurer Denice Laessig. “We don’t have another Planning Commission meeting until March.” —Voted to assign Trustee Robert Drier temporarily to the Section 32 Sewer Authority, which serves Big Snow Resort’s Indianhead location. Lake said the assignment could be revisited when the new trustee joins the board. —Agreed to meet on Jan. 26 from 5-8 p.m. for a workshop on the next fiscal budget and general goals for the year. Lake said she was not sure yet whether the session will be virtual or at the hall and added that the date may need to be adjusted if it is not convenient for the pending new trustee. She said the board then would vote on the budget during its March 2 meeting. The board’s special meeting on Jan. 19 will be at 5:30 p.m. Due to pandemic restrictions, persons wishing to attend any township session should first call the municipal building at 906-224-8551 for access information.