12/19/17 – After debating the issue for about one hour, the Beaver Dam Common Council Monday night voted down the implementation of a $20-wheel tax on a six-to-eight vote. Approximately $280-thousand dollars would have been generated by taxing each vehicle in the city that weighs less than 8000-pounds. A half dozen members of the community spoke against the wheel tax and-or in favor of a referendum while one resident indicated conditional support. Prior to the final vote, there were two attempts to table the wheel tax until voters could consider the matter, both failed with the mayor casting the tie-breaking vote on one of the motions.
Alderman Mick Fischer made one of the motions in favor of going to referendum. Before the final vote, Fischer reiterated his stance that the city should find ways to cut the budget instead of raising taxes. That comment drew criticism from Mayor Becky Glewen who called out Fischer for not attending any budget meetings. Fisher, who had no comment as he refuses to speak with the media, did vote on the 2018 budget but was no in attendance during joint budget deliberation committee meetings. Glewen says the city now begins the task of solving the road maintenance funding issue.
The city has 68 miles of asphalt and concrete roads. Over five miles of roads are in need of complete reconstruction at a cost of $13.5-million dollars and 19 miles need resurfacing at a cost of $10.4-million. City officials say rehabilitation options are limited because of state imposed revenue limits, stagnant state transportation funding and rising costs for road improvements. The city council has an annual self-imposed borrowing limit of $1.6-million dollars, a pot of money that is split with infrastructure and equipment needs of all city departments.