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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Recycling Center Fee?

Germantown, Taxes, Village Board

The tax and fee bug must be rampant in Wisconsin.  It seems to have found its way into Germantown's proposed budget.

A report in Germantown Now tells of this proposal in the words of trustee Mel Ewert.  Each trip to the local recycling center would cost us $1.00.  That would raise $45,000 each year according to Ewert.  He also said that there seems some disagreement amongst village board members as to whether this money should be used to help balance the budget or for recycling center costs.

A couple of questions come to mind:  Why is a $1.00 fee even being considered?  What will the addition of a fee do to the rate of use of the recycling center?

I suppose that the $45,000 would more than offset the increased pay voted for themselves by the village board.  Or it could be used to support the newly enacted automatic pay increase program for non-represented village employees.

The amount is small enough that it most likely would fly under most people's radar screen.  User fees are not unheard of and are fairly effective at targeting the actual user of a service as contrasted with making everyone pay for the service whether or not it is used by every citizen.

I believe that the disagreement amongst the village board members ought to be over whether or not this fee is appropriate.  Period.

My greatest problem with this proposed fee is that all citizens of Germantown are compelled to use the recycling center.  Why then are we supposed to pay an additional fee?  Why isn't this simply supported by property taxes that flow into the general fund of the village.

We've talked about 'slippery slopes' before.  When fees get started, they are almost impossible to stop.  Fees are only taxes disguised to limit criticism.  Fees are great tools for recreational programs, and for community educational classes, and so on on.  Fees are inappropriate for those rules with which all citizens must comply.

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