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Thursday, 20 June 2019 09:22

State decisions constrain towns’ ability to maintain road

Written by Staff Writer
To the editor,
Seventy-four percent of Wisconsin’s town roads are in need of expensive maintenance. The town of Delavan is no different: Repairs to North Shore Drive are estimated at $2.2 million, South Shore Drive at $2.1 million and Town Hall Road at $800,000.

State Legislature decisions have directly led to towns’ inability to maintain roads:

• Decreased state highway aid (After inflation, towns have $1,144 less in General Transportation Aids than they did in 2003, however, costs continue to rise.)

  • Refusal to allow room tax dollars to be spent on road repairs
  • Levy rules requiring taking on debt to increase the levy
  • Lack of diversity in funding portfolio. No other Midwestern state relies so heavily on property taxes and so little on other sources to pay for municipal services.

The town of Delavan, like so many others around Wisconsin, had to make hard choices to keep our residents safe. The current conditions on North Shore Drive are abysmal.
Because of the ridiculous levy rules set by the Republican-led Legislature and their refusal to develop a sustainable road funding plan as well as their stripping of local controls (thanks to the GOP, we as a town can no longer decide if — for example — a room tax should help fund roads, instead we are forced to send room tax money to a tourism agency), I had no other option than to vote to increase the levy through debt.

When elected, I promised transparency, fiscal responsibility and safety for my constituents. This vote is the best I can do while the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee continues to fail all Wisconsin residents. We must demand better of our state representatives and state senators.

Katherine Gaulke
Town of Delavan supervisor

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