Thursday, October 20, 2011

Waukesha Among Wisconsin Municipalities Considering a Garbage Fee

Waukesha considers new $136 user fee for waste. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 10/19/2011)

Excerpt: Waukesha aldermen are grappling with whether to hand homeowners a new $136 fee for garbage collection, recycling and large-item pickup next year, as Mayor Jeff Scrima is advocating, in order to maintain a politically appealing though not state-mandated tax levy freeze.

With some aldermen already publicly opposed to the fee, Finance Committee Chairman Joe Pieper wants his committee and other council members to give "a very good indication" of whether the fee will fly at the committee's 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday.

Whether to charge user fees is the kind of question that municipal officials have faced before and will face again. For example:

  • In Franklin this week, a committee unanimously rejected Mayor Tom Taylor's proposal to move its garbage, recycling and leaf collection off the tax levy in exchange for a $104 fee to single-family homeowners, Finance Director Calvin Patterson said.
  • In West Bend, officials aren't looking for a new curbside collection fee, but a new $20 per year fee for residents dropping off garbage at the municipal collection site is advancing. The city's financial cause was helped with a new waste hauling contract that saves $200,000 by using larger carts and every-other-week pickup of recyclables, said City Administrator Dennis Melvin.
  • In Grafton, the Village Board just approved a $34.80 per dwelling recycling fee for next year, but garbage collection and leaf pickup are still on the tax levy, Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said.

Municipal fees have been trending upward in both the kinds of services financed with them and the amount charged, according to a 2010 Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance report.

Garbage, sewer and parking fees were primarily responsible for the increases, the report says

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