JOHN AND JOANN Strandell add a tarp-load of brush to the compost heap at the Ripon Recycling Center off Old Berlin Road. 						 Tim Lyke photo
JOHN AND JOANN Strandell add a tarp-load of brush to the compost heap at the Ripon Recycling Center off Old Berlin Road. Tim Lyke photo

     ... State statutes grant local governments broad authority to implement fees to pay for certain services. This enables city councils and town/village boards who believe their residents are sufficiently taxed to levy fees to collect more revenue, either to buttress their budgets or to finance special, targeted uses.

     When a unique population enjoys those special purposes — such as liquor licenses, park-shelter rental, conditional-use permits — focused fees are appropriate.

     However, when they apply to a broad swath of the population, best that they be paid for by a more communal collection device such as the property tax.

     These are good guidelines to follow when municipalities facing strained budgets get creative about raising money and politicians find fees more palatable than taxes.   

     The Ripon Common Council should heed them as they consider whether to charge residents for bringing their brush to the recycling center.

     Aldermen discussed the idea Aug. 27 after public works director Mike Ehrenberg said he heard grumbling that hours for the recycling center off Old Berlin Road — Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — are too limited.

     He suggested expanded hours — Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m., perhaps — paid for by requiring residents to buy a window decal to use the site. Cost would be $10 for the first decal and $5 per vehicle after that for any vehicle that is at a single household.

     Additional money raised would help pay for paving, security lights and cameras, Ehrenberg explained.

     This all seems unnecessary.

     Better that the council adopt Ald. Jim Werch and Mayor Gary Will’s suggestion to shift Tuesday hours to later in the day so they straddle first and second shifts. “Instead of opening at 10 [a.m.] on Tuesday, it would open at 12 and go to 6 on Tuesday,” Will said. ...

— Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Sept. 13, 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.