Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield Township gets good news on recent audit


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Wakefield — Members of the Wakefield Board of Trustees learned Tuesday evening that they are in sound financial status for the foreseeable future.

Township Supervisor John Cox said the good news came during a presentation by CPA Karl “Gus” Ahonen of Makela, Pollack and Ahonen, PLLC in Ironwood.

In a Wednesday phone call with the Globe, Cox said the “mini audit” showed a total fund balance of $521,836.

“That’s a very healthy financial picture for the township,” said Cox in echoing Ahonen’s report.

According to Cox, the fund balance had decreased by $42,850 because “we spent a ton of money on roads” during the period of the audit, which covered the fiscal year of April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019.

The supervisor said the township spent $64,379 for roads in 2018, whereas only $50,000 was spent this year, with another $50,000 expected next year toward the same end.

“We have enough to operate for two more years without taxes,” he said, regarding the township’s overall expenses and current fund balance.

Cox explained that the township undergoes an audit every other year, rather than annually, because the township population is under 4,000 residents and has no debt.

In other news, the board also:

—Learned that new speed limit signs have been posted on County Road N. 519. Cox said some original signs had been knocked down by snowplows.

—Learned that private owners of more than 500 acres in Wakefield Township have applied with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for classification in the state’s commercial forest program. Cox said that, if the CF status is obtained, the township will lose ad valorem revenue on those properties.

—Learned that 44 responses were received from a summer survey done in relation to the township’s pending new master plan, to be prepared by the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region, which regards the number of surveys collected as “excellent.” Township representatives delivered surveys to 115 households.

—Learned that the township is not qualified to apply for a state grant that could have helped to increase broadband services within its boundaries. Cox said the township now will seek other avenues.

The board’s next regular meeting will be on Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wakefield Township Hall, 414 County Road N. 519. The public is welcome.

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