Wakefield City Council discusses deficit, considers utility increase




Wakefield — The Wakefield City Council heard from the City’s auditor, Karl Ahonen, on the 2015-16 year audit, Monday night.

Ahonen highlighted some of the city’s financial deficits and fund balances. The Governmental Activities Fund had a deficit of $77,472. This is the first year that the city was required to record its net pension liability, which is what the deficit reflects.

The General Unassigned Fund balance was at $413,570 which is an improvement from the deficit of previous years. The General Fund increased a total of $122,527 for the year. “Consider increasing water, sewer, and electric rates to keep up with inflation,” Ahonen suggested.

The city post-employment benefits are to be recorded in the coming years which will need to be included in the overall budget. Complete infrastructure inventory will also be required in the future budget summaries, said Ahonen.

There was also a briefing on the progress on the SAW project by Rob Anderson of GEI consultants. According to Anderson, the project is “on schedule”.

The council voted to appoint Pauline Pikka to the open position on the Wakefield Library board. Pikka’s term expires at the end of the month and she was the sole applicant for the position.

A group of Michigan Tech students have offered to develop a plan of action for a Community Garden in the City of Wakefield. City Manager Richard Brackney suggested contacting community members who had previously shown interest in a garden to gain further support for the project.

Brackney also acknowledged the work of volunteers to build the snowman located at the west end of Eddy Park. Residents and visitors have voiced enjoyment of the seasonal feature. The snowman was featured on ESPN Sports in a snowmobile segment which is viewable on the city’s facebook page.

The council distributed maps of the newly developed snowshoe trails throughout the city. The maps are also available on the City’s facebook page.

The next city council meeting will be Monday, Feb., 13 at 5:30 p.m. The Planning Commission will meet Monday, Feb., 6 at 5:15 p.m., and the 8th Annual Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department Ice Fishing Contest will be Saturday, Feb. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wakefield VFW.


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