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Data shows who would really save on garbage fee changes in Wausau
The Big Story
Proponents of a change approved by the Wausau City Council last week claimed it would pave the way for lower fees for services such as garbage and stormwater. Parsing through the data, however, shows who will really benefit.
The city council approved a repeal of a previous ordinance that forced the city to put any new fee the city might implement to a vote via referendum. That was prior to a state rule, according to Finance Committee Chair Lisa Rasmussen, that any new fee needed to be offset by a similar reduction in levy.
In other words, city leaders say, if the city raises fees on you, they need to lower your taxes by the same amount.
That’s true for the tax levy as a whole, but per individual that doesn’t quite work out that way. Rasmussen told the city council right now people aren’t being charged for garbage collection fairly. Since it’s a percentage that shows up on taxes based on property values, a person with a low-value home might only be paying $17; someone with a very expensive home might pay $900 for what is essentially the same service. (These are the extreme fringes of the range, we will show later.)
The implication is that, for most people, they would pay less under the new scheme. With the repeal, it would allow the city to charge a straight fee for garbage collection. So most people should pay less right?
In practice, that might not actually be the case, according to data compiled by The Wausonian. The vast majority of Wausau residents would pay more.
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