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Assembly approves bill to eliminate town road repairs cap

By: Erika Strebel//October 27, 2015//

Assembly approves bill to eliminate town road repairs cap

By: Erika Strebel//October 27, 2015//

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The state Assembly voted Tuesday to eliminate a cap that now limits what towns can spend on road repairs.

Wisconsin statute obliges town boards to provide equipment and materials and repair their highways. The current cap allows them to spend up to $5,000 a year for each mile of highway that is within their jurisdiction. Spending beyond that limit requires either a formal approval from the town board or by voters in a referendum.

The proposal approved Tuesday eliminates both the annual maximum and, along with it, the need for special action to exceed the cap.

Supporters of the bill testified in April that the maximum expenditure amount now allowed is not in line with the current cost of making road repairs. They also testified that towns can find themselves easily exceeding the cap by the middle of a particular year or during a hard winter.

Supporters of the bill have said the proposal would help put municipalities on an equal footing with other local governments and make towns faster at dealing with unforeseen road repairs.

According to a fiscal estimate from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the bill will lower costs because towns would no longer have expenses associated with organizing a town meeting or a referendum.

Lawmakers in the state Assembly took up the proposed legislation Tuesday afternoon along with a slew of other bills.

The Senate passed the same bill in April. It will now head to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk for a signature.

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