City council introduces transportation utility ordinance; public hearing slated for June 7
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – The City of Tomahawk Common Council this week introduced an ordinance that would implement a transportation utility in the city.
The council voted unanimously to introduce the ordinance on Tuesday, April 19. Last month, the city’s Finance Committee reviewed the ordinance before sending it on to the council.
With the ordinance officially introduced at the council level, the city will hold a public hearing before the council takes the matter up again. The hearing will be held at City Hall, 23 N. 2nd St., Tomahawk, on Tuesday, June 7, at 5:30 p.m.
During the meeting, City of Tomahawk Clerk/Treasurer Amanda Bartz noted that the City of Wisconsin Rapids recently put in place a transportation utility similar to the one being considered in Tomahawk.
“So more and more communities are looking at the same thing we are,” Bartz said.
For about the last roughly eight months, the city has been considering implementing a transportation utility as a means of generating infrastructure revenue.
According to Ruekert & Mielke, Inc., a firm that assists municipalities with infrastructure needs and has been working with the city on the matter, a transportation utility functions similarly to water or sewer utilities, with the funds generated being earmarked for a specific use. In the case of a transportation utility, the revenue would be put towards transportation-related needs, including pavement preservation work, street construction and reconstruction, street lighting, traffic control signalization, and repair of operational equipment.
Administration-related costs, such as billing and collection, would also be covered by the utility.
Ruekert & Mielke said the City of Tomahawk would seek to generate $500,000.00 annually from a transportation utility fee, which would be billed out quarterly, similar to water and sewer utilities.
Each customer would pay the same “base fee,” which would be used to pay the cost of running the utility. A separate, larger “usage fee” would be administered based on the estimated number trips generated from a property. Ruekert & Mielke noted that, for example, a fast food restaurant or gas station, due to generating a higher number of trips, would pay a larger usage fee than a bar or church, which generate fewer trips.
Estimates from the firm show that the monthly charge for a single-family residence would be about $5.50, with the base fee roughly $0.30, and the usage fee estimated to be $5.20. A single-family residence would pay about $66 per year.