The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield to fund Beacon through December


May 16, 2018

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

MONDAY's Wakefield city council meeting included, from left, council member Jim Anderson, mayor pro tempore Amy Tarro, mayor John Granato, city clerk Sue Ahonen, city attorney Ray O'Dea, and city manager Richard Brackney. Council member Kay Wiita is not shown.


Wakefield - The Wakefield city council Monday voted to pay $12,000 to fund Beacon Ambulance Service for continuing coverage through Dec. 31.

The unanimous vote was contingent upon all other Gogebic County cities, townships or communities also funding the service as part of a county cost-sharing resolution.

City Manager Richard Brackney said Watersmeet is the exception because it has its own agreement for ambulance service through Aspirus Iron River.

Brackney said Beacon "opened their books" so as to inspire confidence.

"The per-capita cost to do this is right where it should be," said Brackney. "There's not really a concern that the books have been fudged."

According to Brackney, Beacon has seen increasing financial challenges for various reasons; including this region's greater use of Medicare and Medicaid, which result in lower insurance reimbursements than Beacon would get from private insurance.

He said ambulance services may be quite profitable in urban areas, but added, "There's not money to be made in rural areas."

Brackney said new state requirements for ambulances will increase Beacon's expenses even more.

In relation to resolving long-term ambulance funding, Brackney said Gogebic County likely plans to put a related millage on the November ballot.

In other action, the council also:

-Voted to accept the sole bid of $11,204.04 from Angelo Luppino, Inc. of Iron Belt, Wis., for Sunday Lake Campground shower repairs.

-Voted to budget $150,000 to seek a replacement for a 1996 John Deere loader and to sell a 1983 Vactor truck for a minimum bid of $5,000.

-Voted to schedule a public hearing on the budget in conjunction with a regular city meeting on June 11 at 5:30 p.m. An additional, as yet unscheduled, budget workshop will be held before then.

-Heard concerns from Wakefield residents Neil Londo and Steve Lischalk regarding possible improprieties in how electric rates are managed. Mayor John Granato said electric matters will be discussed at a related public hearing on May 29.

-Tabled a request by Dave Semenak to fund two workers for nine days to flush the city's 257 water hydrants.

-Renewed a two-year contract with city building inspector Donald Saari, who will continue operating as an independent contractor for $5,800 per year.

-Voted to fund about $20,000 for the Gogebic County Road Commission to apply a chip seal to Sunday Lake Road/Chaney Lake Road, so as to extend its life by an estimated 10 years.

-Voted to lease for free, in the event of an emergency, the community room of the municipal building to the American Red Cross, which would supply food, supplies and other support.

-Voted to reduce the summer age limit from 16 to 15 for students who work as summer interns in the city hall office. The age limit of 16 will remain for interns working out of the office.

-Heard a complaint about neighboring cats and aggressive dogs repeatedly entering the property of a Wakefield resident. Gogebic County Animal Control already has taken action, and mayor pro tempore Amy Tarro said she is working to resolve the issue.

-Heard public concerns about a need for speed limit signs on Pierce Street.

-Heard public concerns about curb and road damage throughout the city.

-Heard an inquiry about the status of the city's Quonset hut, on which no formal action yet has been taken.

-Voted to reimburse Sunday Lake Campground registration fees for two persons in the midst of unexpected medical hardship.

-Voted to waive a vendor fee for Mike Hewitt to sell firewood in Eddy Park.

-Learned of a Tuesday public hearing regarding plans by Bessemer Township to operate a gravel pit on Chaney Lake Road.


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