What's News in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Enterprise Funds
Four Pleasant Prairie Utilities (Sewer, Water, Clean Water and Solid Waste/Sanitation) and the Recreation Division at RecPlex are operated as “enterprise funds.” They are called enterprise funds, because they are operated like a business and are not supported by property tax payments.

Instead, these areas receive income from: fees charged for services provided, loans, grants, the resale of capital equipment and donations. This income is then used to cover operating expenses, large capital purchases or improvements, and to pay down debt for the particular enterprise or area. Pleasant Prairie uses the enterprise fund structure to more fairly distribute the expenses associated with the service to all who either benefit from or have an impact on the enterprise.

If the cost for operating these enterprises was included on your property tax bill, a smaller user, such as a homeowner, could pay the same amount for a service (like water or sewer) as a major user (such as a manufacturer), despite the fact that the major user uses substantially more of the service. If the cost for operating these enterprises was included on your property tax bill, some properties that are the largest users of a service wouldn’t pay for the service they receive at all, because they are tax exempt. In November, the Village Board considered and passed the 2014 budgets for the Solid Waste Utility and the Clean Water Utility.

Solid Waste is the name of the utility that provides garbage, recycling, compost, hazardous waste, shredding, and leaf collection services for Village residents. As an enterprise fund, one of the ways the Solid Waste Utility covers the cost of providing services is by charging a fee for the services provided.

During 2014, no rate increases have been planned for Solid Waste services. Residents who use the Village Solid Waste services have a direct impact on how high or low the utility’s costs are. Because the Solid Waste Utility pays a large tipping fee for disposing of residential garbage in a landfill, the less garbage residents produce, the lower the cost of the tipping fee. In the same vein, because the utility receives a rebate for recyclable materials collected, the more residents recycle, the larger the rebate the Solid Waste Utility receives to offset expenses.

The Clean Water Utility was created in 2006 in response to Federal mandates requiring municipalities to increase their efforts to improve storm water quality. These mandates are intended to protect the country’s natural water resources (lakes, streams, rivers and groundwater) from contaminated storm water runoff. Storm water is rain or melting snow. As it flows across the landscape, it collects contaminants from properties and transports them through the storm sewer and into our natural water resources.

All properties contribute to storm water runoff to varying degrees based upon their soil type and surface and how the property is used. The Village collects a storm water fee from property owners based upon how a property generates storm water.

The funds collected by the utility are used to pay for: maintenance of Village-owned storm water infrastructure (like storm sewer); repair and cleaning of catch basins; and preserving natural drainage systems like streams and vegetative buffers. The utility is also building a fund to help pay for the future replacement of existing infrastructure.

Clean Water Utility fees will not increase as a result of the 2014 budget. More information about the Clean Water Utility, including an informational video, is available by clicking here.

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