Weston Village creates fee, raises concerns - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Weston Village creates fee, raises concerns

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WESTON (WAOW) -

For one community, a spike in utility bills is on the way. The Weston Village Board has approved a new transportation fee. But, it's the reasons behind the jump that has many talking.

It's been a heated debate since the beginning. Last year voters approved bringing back the bus service. But, village leaders say since then, finding the funding has been difficult.

That's why members of the Weston Village Board approved a transportation utility fee.

It's based on a property's street frontage. Leaders say that means property owners with more land will pay more money. The fee could be as much as $30 per year.

All that money will help the village pay for the $45,000 bus service.

"Voters want the services but they don't want to pay more money so we're stuck between a rock and a hard place," board member Barb Ermeling said.

Ermeling was the only board member who voted against adding the extra fees.

"It is penalizing the people that are going to get the least amount of service from the bus," Ermeling said. "In that the rural areas or the suburban areas if you will, (they) have larger lots and will end up paying more."

Weston Village Administrator Daniel Guild was not available for an on camera interview

But, he did send a document to Newsline 9 outlining the proposal. It says, "if funding does not attempt to keep up with operation and maintenance needs, the overall transportation system will deteriorate and no longer be able to serve the people who rely on it."

But, Ermeling says there has to be a better way.

"I don't have the answers, but I just don't think all the fees is the way to go," Ermeling said.

Village leaders say the transportation fee is estimated to bring in $51,000 this year. The village will receive its first bill from the bus service at the end of March.

In the document sent by the village administrator, it does state the village board can make adjustments to the charge each year during the budget process. They say that means they can either increase the fee or eliminate it all together.

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