Wayland fire services to Tribe will include Hopkins

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Wayland City Council is seeking to amend an agreement with the Gun Lake Tribe to include the Hopkins Area Fire Department for providing firefighting services for land held in trust.

Once land is taken into trust by the United States, it is no longer under the jurisdiction of local units of government; therefore, municipal services can be approved or rejected for being outside municipal corporate limits.

Back in July, the council agreed to allow the Wayland Fire Department to provide firefighting services for several of the Tribe’s properties, including the 156.6-acre Jijak Camp property at 2558 20th Ave. and a 20-acre parcel at 2044 126th Ave., both in Hopkins Township.

However, council member Rick Mathis asked the city manager to reach out to Hopkins Township to make sure there were no qualms over the arrangement since by mutual aid agreement, Hopkins fire department would be on scene first, being located much closer to the property.

As the agreement stands now, although Hopkins would be the first responder, they would be required to bill Wayland’s fire services to get payment by the Gun Lake Tribe for services.

Hopkins Township supervisor Mark Evans was not happy with the arrangement and called it a slap in the face to the Hopkins fire department. Hopkins fire department is governed by an interlocal agreement between Hopkins, Watson, and Monterey townships and Hopkins Village.

Wayland’s interim city manager Larry Nielsen told council members Monday, Nov. 6, that after a meeting with representatives from the Tribe, the City of Wayland and Hopkins fire board representatives, it was agreed Hopkins Area Fire Department should be included to provide direct service to the Jijak Camp as a practicality. Wayland would continue providing services to parcels of property in the city and township of Wayland.

The reason the contract was being updated back in July was to include additions to the Gun Lake Casino.

“Having Hopkins provide direct services makes it much cleaner and simpler,” Nielsen said. “All (at the meeting) think that’s great and will work towards that end.”


In other business:

Council members also made changes to a previous decision to direct the DPW to pay cash to purchase a new $167,209 CAT front-end loader. With $225,000 in the equipment fund, the decision was changed to pay $83,709 from the fund and borrow $83,500 with a 2-year, 1.68-percent interest rate loan from Hastings Bank.

Council member Tim Rose voted against borrowing. He said if there were future equipment needs, those could be borrowed for at a later date.

Mayor pro-tem Jennifer Antel said she agreed with Rose at the last meeting but after talking to the interim manager she decided future equipment needs may be sporadic. “There could be three things we’d need three loans for,” she said.

Council member Lisa Banas said interest rates were at their lowest right now.

• A request for a tavern license by Acqua In Vino was unanimously approved by the council. Owner Arnie Rodriquez said while his business on Main Street currently has wine tasting for pairings with meats, cheeses and pastas, he hopes to add a wine bar in which customers can consume a whole glass of wine as well as craft beer.

• Council members discussed renewing the recycling contract with Republic Services and taking over the DDA’s lease arrangements with the American Legion and dentist Bruce Sexton for use of the public parking lots on South Main and East Superior streets. Those will be action items on the next agenda Nov. 20.

• Chase Johnson was reappointed to a four-year term on the DDA and Jason Hancock was appointed to the DDA to replace Karen Gregersen for a partial term expiring in December 2018.

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at vransbottom@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.


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