The Waukesha County Board failed to over-ride County Executive Dan Vrakas’ veto of a tax on non-library building communities to give to the communities that build the libraries of Waukesha County. While I wish it was a sudden revelation of the wrong-headedness of the idea, the reality is less Damascene. From the Waukesha Freeman:
By a vote of 22-9, the Waukesha County board on Tuesday failed to override a veto by County Executive Dan Vrakas on an ordinance to make non-library communities pay toward capital costs for libraries.
The board needed 24 votes to override the veto. County supervisors Jeff Morris, Jim Jeskewitz and Keith Hammitt, who all voted in favor of the ordinance at the board’s July 24 meeting, were not in attendance Tuesday night.
Waukesha Mayor Larry Nelson, whose taxing exertions appear to be indefatigable even as he isn’t, vowed to fight for the tax next spring when the new, smaller county board meets. Nelson’s support for higher taxes in every area of government suggests that maybe he has too much time on his hands. That, or it merely suggests he should spend less time with his hand out.
The good guys in this battle were: Peter Gundrum, Robert Thelen II, Walter Kolb, Keith Harenda, Peter Wolff, Rodell Singert, Joe Marchese, William Mitchell and Robert Hutton.
The Freeman captured the quote of the night when Supervisor Thomas Bullerman said,
“In New Berlin, we just built a new library and it cost $12 million and you know what? That’s OK because it’s a library,” he said. “You know, it’s OK to pay for something and it’s the same cast of characters that don’t want to pay for anything, and it falls down between towns and those in communities that have libraries.”
Never mind that those outside New Berlin had no say in building the library, whether the cost was $12 or $12 million. Expecting the towns to pay when the cities play is contemptible and even corrupt. Bullerman could have been no more condescending towards New Berlin’s neighbors had he uttered, “Villeins ye are, and villeins ye shall remain.” After all, Bullerman expressed the sentiment well enough.
For those that think Vrakas was being divisive with his veto, it wasn’t the county executive who decided the non-library municipalities were little piggy banks waiting to be raided.
If the library building communities really feel their neighbors are taking advantage of their generousity, then apply the fees directly when it comes time for membership, overdue fines and other possible revenue generators. Consider charging non-residents for the movies, audio books and other media services. Charge non-residents to use the computers. But if the library building communities truly feel that would be too much of a burden to collect those fees, then surrender the libraries to county control so that all can have a say in the expenditures for which they are taxed.