Faced with deteriorating roadways, some not rebuilt for more than a century, the Hudson city engineer has proposed two new fees for residents to help provide financing.
The rates for these have not been adopted yet. The city is holding town hall meetings to hear from residents on the issue.
“We have held four thus far and have had really low attendance,” City Engineer Dean Chamberlain said.
The following meetings are still coming up:
Thursday, Nov. 4 – 6-8 p.m. – via Zoom (login information at the city website at www.hudsonwi.gov/tuwt) – this meeting is focused on residential properties.
Tuesday, Nov. 9 – 9-11 a.m. – Hudson Fire Station (2121 Ward Avenue) – this meeting is focused on commercial/industrial properties, mostly for the “Hill” commercial area.
Tuesday, Nov. 9 – 6-8 p.m. – Hudson Fire Station (2121 Ward Avenue) – this meeting is focused on residential properties.
Wednesday, Nov. 10 – 9-11 a.m. – via Zoom (login information at the city website at www.hudsonwi.gov/tuwt) – this meeting is focused on commercial/industrial properties.
Chamberlain said the city is looking for an equitable solution to fund the needed road maintenance.
The first proposal is for a transportation utility where all property owners will pay a base fee, similar to an availability charge on water and sewer bills. There would be an additional usage fee based on the amount of traffic generated by the property.
For the usage fee, residential and small office complexes would be at the low end of the scale while big box stores, grocery stores and gas stations would be at the higher end.
There would be a “wheel tax” of $20 per vehicle per year that would be collected when drivers pay their annual registration fee.
The two fees are expected to raise $1.3 million for road construction -- $350,000 by the wheel tax and another $1 million by the transportation utility.
This would be a small percentage of the $127 million estimated to upgrade all of the streets in the city.
“We need to start somewhere,” Chamberlain said. “It’s going to be a long-term program.”
The engineer said the new fees would give the city “additional tools in the toolbox.” Currently road work is paid through property taxes, state funding and grants from state and federal governments.
The city sometimes uses special assessments on property owners to raise funds for street repairs in their area. Those special assessments would be eliminated if the new fees are approved, Chamberlain said.
The oldest roads and the utilities under them are more than 120 years old, according to Chamberlain. Most of those roads are in the northeast section of the city.
A public hearing on the new fees is scheduled for Nov. 15. The council could vote on the fees in December. If approved the new fees would take effect next year.