Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield moves to repeal deer-feeding ordinance


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Wakefield — Members of the Wakefield City Commission voted on Monday evening to approve repealing an ordinance relating to feeding deer within city limits.

The motion included the scheduling of a first reading on the repeal at the council’s next regular meeting.

“You have to have three readings of it,” said City Manager Robert Brown Jr., noting that a public hearing then also must occur, followed by 30 days of publication, before the repeal can be officially on record.

Monday’s action follows the council’s discussion of the matter at an April 8 council meeting. Members concluded then that they were not aware of having any serious issues relating to the feeding of deer. They also concluded that such a ruling would be difficult to enforce.

The ordinance reads, “It shall be unlawful for any person to place any feed such as salt, minerals, grain, fruit, vegetable material, sunflower seeds, deer suckers, or any other type of organic material, on any public or private property for the purpose of enticing deer into any property in the city of Wakefield” with the exception of some concessions in relation to hunting.

During Monday’s public comment session, Susan Barrette of 203 Lakeshore Drive asked that city officials “take a long, hard look at that ordinance and realize how important it is and get someone to enforce it.”

Barrette said the issue of feeding deer is “way out of control” and that it attracts, not only deer, but also other animals, including, but not limited to, skunks, raccoons and rats “and their diseases.”

After the public hearing, Brown said the city then will publish the pending repeal for 30 days, adding that it then could take effect later this summer.

In other news, the council also voted to approved a resolution authorizing the city to execute for its current water project a drawdown on $216,265 from the city’s related loan with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development.

In his agenda report, Brown said a balance of nearly $3 million in that account then will remain for future project needs.

Chris Holmes, the city’s project engineer for the work, said the drawdown will cover costs relating to the period of March 14-April 11 as registered by U.P. Engineers and Architects of Houghton and of Ruotsala Construction of Ironwood.

Council members also:

—Approve a resolution adopting a property tax exemption policy and procedure. Brown said the Michigan State Tax Commission has added the policy as a new requirement to its Audit of Minimum Assessing Requirement.

—Approve a cost not to exceed $1,950 for City Clerk Susan Ahonen to attend the annual conference of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. The event, which includes training, will be held from June 17-21 in Traverse City. Brown said no virtual options exist.

All votes were unanimous with all members present.

Council members will have a work session meeting on Saturday at 8 a.m. The council’s next regular meeting will be on May 13, and the Planning Commission will meet on May 14. Both of those meetings will start at 5:30 p.m. in the municipal building.

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