Wakefield Township board votes to reduce GRWA members

By P.J. GLISSON news@yourdailyglobe.com

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP — Members of the Wakefield Township Board of Trustees voted Tuesday evening to support a request by the Gogebic Range Water Authority to reduce the size of its membership. In the interests of greater efficiency, GRWA Administrator Jean Verbos has expressed a desire to reduce the board’s current membership from 11 to five. When alternates to those members are factored in, the total membership goes beyond 20. GRWA members include the townships of Wakefield, Bessemer and Ironwood, as well as the cities of Wakefield and Bessemer. Representatives of the two city councils already have voiced objection to reducing the size of the board. At an Aug. 10 meeting, Wakefield City Council members voted to maintain the current membership after stating that their own interests likely are better protected by having more members. Supervisor John Cox supports the idea of reducing the board and does not believe it will lead to inadequate representation by any given party. “A big committee doesn’t work as well as a small one,” he said. Moreover, he told his own board members on Tuesday, another issue is finding GRWA members who are qualified. “It’s a big problem to get people who know, or are interested” in matters relating to water and sewer, he said. According to Cox, his township spends $58 each for two members to attend each meeting. “I’d rather see one person do it, and do it well,” he said, explaining that the $58 saved from the extra person not attending could be applied to training the person who does attend. Cox emphasized that the GRWA, which is based in Ramsay and is one of the biggest such entities in this region, deserves support and noted that his township’s water system has benefited greatly from being a member of the system. “The water authority, in my estimation, is wonderful for this community,” he said. The board vote was unanimous with all members present. In other news, board members: —Voted to approve the township’s new zoning ordinance, as presented by the planning commission. —Learned from Cox that most of the season’s road work is complete, with new ditching helping to stave off weather damage. He added, however, that recent heavy rain took a toll in some areas, especially on Blackjack Road. —Learned from Cox that the new internet tower being constructed next to the hall is “up about 50 feet” and will extend about another 100 feet before being active in the near future. The board’s next regular meeting will be on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the township hall. Due to COVID restrictions, persons wishing to attend the meeting should call the hall at 224-8551 or Cox at 224-3721 in advance.