The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Newly-elected Anderson joins Wakefield city council


November 14, 2017

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

MEMBERS OF Wakefield's newly-elected city council take their oath of office at the start of Monday's council meeting in the municipal building. They are, from left, Kay Wiita, Mayor Pro Tempore Amy Tarro, new member James Anderson, Patricia Mann, and Mayor John Granato. Acting City Clerk Sue Ahonen administered the oath.


Wakefield - The Wakefield city council on Monday welcomed newly-elected member James Anderson and also voted to appoint John Granato as the new mayor and Amy Tarro as Mayor Pro Tempore.

Granato and Tarro, along with council members Kay Wiita and Pat Mann, all remain on the council after being voted in as incumbents in the Nov. 7 election. Anderson was a write-in candidate who filled the vacancy left by Joe DelFavero, whose last meeting with the council was on Oct. 23.

At Monday's meeting, Mann nominated Granato as mayor, and Anderson seconded the motion. Granato nominated Tarro as Mayor Pro Tempore, and Mann seconded the motion. Both motions passed unanimously.

Acting City Clerk Sue Ahonen administered the oath of office to the newly elected council members.

During a public comment period, former council member Bob Blaskowski asked whether the city has prepared an orientation package for Anderson. Granato said that no formal package was provided, but that Anderson did receive a copy of the City Charter and of "Robert's Rules of Order."

In relation to a recommendation from the city planning commission, the council voted for the second time in little more than a month to raise 2018 campground rates at Eddy Park Campground.

The slightly higher fees were advised by the council's newly formed campground committee, which consists of council member Tarro, commission member Marco Movrich, Camp Hostess Joanne Popkowski, and two at-large members.

The new rates refer to three tiers of site fees that are scaled according to lakeside status and / or other amenities such as water, electricity, and drive-through ease:

Level 1: $25 per night, $125/week, and $325/month;

Level 2: $35 per night, $150 per week, and $350 per month;

Level 3 (premium): $40 per night, $200 per week, and $400 per month; and

Tents: $15 per night, $60 per week, and $150 per month.

By comparison, 2017 premium rates were $30 per night, and monthly rates were $325. Tent rates in 2017 were $10 per night, and monthly rates were $145.

Still holding is the City Council's Oct. 9 vote to reduce seasonal rates from $1,100 to $1,000 for all sites.

At the additional recommendation of the commission and committee, council members also voted to change campground registration time from Jan. 1, 2018 to Feb. 5, 2018, which represents the first full week of that month, and to require registrants put down half of the site fee when they register (instead of the $50 down payment that was due this year), with the second half being due by May 1, 2018.

In addition, the council voted to "abandon" several low-value campground sites.

Movrich, who attended the council meeting as a member of the audience, emphasized to the council that the higher rates will help to fund park improvements.

Tarro motioned to accept the commission's recommendations in full, and Wiita seconded, with the vote passing unanimously.

City Manager Richard Brackney also reported to the council that a 12 percent increase in Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurance rates will cost the city "about $30,000 per year" in additional funds.

"There are no other options," said Brackney, who explained that some insurance plans require more than 100 participants and others do not meet requirements in the city's union contract.

Mann asked what percentage per dollar of city employee salaries will go toward benefits, and Brackney said he did not have that information.

"Where are we going to come up with the money?" asked Anderson, and Brackney said, "We'll be looking into that."

Mann voted to accept the increase, and Wiita seconded. The vote passed nearly unanimously, with Tarro abstaining.

After the meeting, Brackney explained that 13 full-time employees are covered on the city's BC-BS plan.


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