Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Fiscal budget approved for Bessemer Township

RAMSAY - The main topic on the agenda for Bessemer Township's annual meeting on Monday night was setting the budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget begins on April 1 and runs through March 31, 2016.

Township Supervisor Jeff Randall spoke to those in attendance about the key points in next years budget.

Randall said the estimated total available funds, which are at $1,297,627, may seem like a lot of money, but it does not all arrive at once.

"It's a lot of money, but most of that income does not come in until next December," he said.

The township also hopes to start saving for future recreation projects to match grant funding and for other purchases, such as a new garbage truck.

One citizen asked how much a new garbage truck will cost the township, as the township hopes to start setting aside funds to eventually pay for a new truck.

Randall said a new truck costs about $190,000, so the money they plan to set aside next year won't even cover the total cost.

There was also a question about the planned sewer updates in the area of Grant and Mill streets. Randall said they hope to repave Grant Street as part of the project and other patching will be done near the manhole covers after they are replaced.

Another citizen asked about the lagoons and if money is owed on them.

Jean Verbos said, "The lagoons themselves have no debt. ... The utilities are funded through the revenue collected from the users and are not part of the general fund budget."

Randall said planning out the budget is a good and necessary thing, as "It sets the direction for the township and where we are heading."

The budget was easily passed for the next year.

Resolutions were also passed to pay the township treasurer, Jerry Grenfell, and clerk, Debbie Janczak, $20,000 each for their yearly salaries.

In a recommendation by Verbos, the citizens, with minor opposition, also agreed to pay the supervisor a yearly salary of $20,000. The original resolution was set to pay Randall $18,000 each year.

After the approval of the budget and resolutions, there was time for public comment.

Several in attendance thanked Randall for his work as township supervisor.

"I would like to thank you for working with the Planning Commission," said Planning Commission Chairman Walt Rickard. "I know you put in a lot of extra time and I want to publicly commend you for that."

Don Ormes thanked the township workers "for always having such a positive attitude" whenever anyone stopped at the offices.

Randall also took the opportunity to thank Velda Scalfani and the other volunteers for beautifying the park and other areas.

"I appreciate what they've done down (at the park)," Randall said. "It's great to see there is interest in the park."

The budget, sewer plan and recreation plan for the park can all be viewed at the township offices in Ramsay.

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