Money we waste


The state of Michigan estimates the total population of Iron County at 11,633 for the year 2009. Some 2,383 of those are under age 20, or roughly 1/5th of the total population.

There are 751 in the age 15 through 19 group, but only 490 in the age 0 through 4 group, indicating the predictable decline in the overall population in the next 20 years.

For this population, we presently have 13 municipal governments and two school districts with a total (not counting county or school officials) number of 195 public officials.

Adding in all our public officials I’d bet a good cup of coffee that we don’t have 50 men, women, and children, for each public official.

That’s ridiculous.

For the money we waste every year on funding all those local governments and officials we could have better roads and public transportation.

When our population drops by half again in the next 20 years, will our roads need to be half as good as they are now? Of course not. The stark reality is that 11,633 doesn’t populate a good sized village let alone 13 local governments. And how about half that population, happening sooner than we’d like to think.

All we need for the foreseeable future is one, count them one, municipal government for Iron County. And as unpopular as the idea is, by the time we hit less than a thousand children sometime in the next 30 years, we need to have closed our schools and be sending them to a consolidated school district in an adjoining county.

The sooner the existing population of Iron County faces these facts, and does something, the sooner things like roads will start getting better.

Bill Vajk

Iron River