Friday, December 9th, 2016

Scrima’s garbage plan

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The latest city budget proposal is out and has already received the endorsement of Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima. What Scrima neglects to mention as he touts a budget that has no increase in the tax levy is that it introduces fees for garbage collection for the first time. Where the last budget ran into trouble over a proposed 90 cent increase in the property tax for the median household in Waukesha, this budget will raise the city tax bill per household by $136 regardless of the home’s value.

It gets worse. Because it’s a “fee” rather than a tax, homeowners will not be able to deduct that amount from their federal taxes, and the fee will not be included in a mortgage payer’s monthly escrow.It also sets a terrible precedent for the city of Waukesha. Should we look forward to snow removal fees? Street lighting fees? Police and fire protection fees? Pothole fees? We can be just like Milwaukee, without the reliable source of water.

Of course, large multi-resident properties (like the ones developed by Scrima’s family) that contract out for garbage services will dodge the fees. Their taxes remain the same, but the rest of us get screwed, even though they use a disproportionate amount of other city services.

It will be interesting to see if Scrima’s dwindling band of supporters abandon the mayor over this proposed fee. For example, Waukesha School Board Member Steve Edlund (email address, phone: 262-993-6959) is a supporter of the mayor and has threatened to recall members of the Common Council for not doing what he wants. Will he launch a recall effort against the mayor for supporting garbage collection fees?

You know, the Democrat with the funny shoes would never have even tried to get away with this. Interestingly, when Larry Nelson ran against former State Representative Ann Nischke for mayor he was accused of supporting a garbage collection fee. Nelson countered effectively that while he was open to the idea, he never actually supported it. I don’t believe the idea ever came up while he was mayor.

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