MUNISING —The City Commission in this Upper Peninsula community took a big step in early toward the privatization of the entire local wastewater treatment plant and sewer collection/water distribution systems when it directed the city manager to notify city workers of its intention to do so.

The decision goes beyond what the city had earlier worked toward, namely, the privatization of only the wastewater treatment plant supervisor’s position. A prime candidate for the task is the Grand Rapids-based firm, Earth Tech, which has been talking to city officials, but no bids had yet been sought as of this writing.

According to a story in The Munising News, when a city worker asked if privatization would result in a reduction of the workforce, the mayor responded, "In most of their (Earth Tech) plants, the wages are comparable to the city’s or better; also, the same goes for the fringe benefits."