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Common Council Considers “Wheel Tax” to Cover Road Costs – Editorial

WAUPUN — While the Waupun City Administration has been looking to use a controversial Transportation Utility Fee to fund infrastructure maintenance, the TUF plan has potential issues that could prevent it from being a viable solution to budget shortfalls.

Under current state law, Wisconsin municipalities are limited by the state in how much in taxes they are allowed to bring in. But low on funding, many municipalities—including Waupun—have been looking for solutions in raising the funding they need, a solution many think they have found in Transportation Utility Fees.

However, the Wisconsin State Legislature has taken notice of the trend and a bill has been proposed to discourage municipalities from adopting a TUF plan. State Representative Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), one of the proponents of the legislation, stated that Transportation Utility Fees are merely attempts to circumvent municipal tax limits. This new legislation would require municipalities to reduce property taxes by an equal amount to what is collected by the TUF, as well as limiting state funding and grants to municipalities which adopt TUF plans.

Alderman and candidate for Mayor of Waupun Rohn W. Bishop brought up these issues regarding the TUF plan during the City Council meeting last Tuesday. He stated that it is not a tested nor proven system in the state of Wisconsin and may face legal challenges in the future based on already existing laws should it go to court. This coupled with the fact that the legislature may soon pass legislation preventing the implementation of TUF or any similar tax plans could discourage the City from adopting a Transportation Utility Fee.