Fee increases split Oak Creek

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— To fee or not to fee.

That was the question on the minds of the Oak Creek Town Board members Thursday night.

The Town Board was scheduled to approve amendments to three of the town's ordinances that would increase the land-use change and review fees because town employees thought the town was not charging enough.

One amendment increased the fee for land-use change of major impact conceptual plan review from $15 to $1,000.

Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said the increase in fees was necessary because annexation is time-consuming for town employees. The $15 fee did not compensate the town for hours of work.

"We've been charging $15 for this. Now, the whole planet wants to annex in Oak Creek," she said. "Changing (the fee) to $1,000 makes it closer to what everyone else is charging."

Town Board member John Crawford opposed the fee increases, saying managing an----nexations and land-use change is part of Town Clerk Karen Halterman's job.

"They are taking advantage of the people of this town because I am dedicating myself to helping a private developer who is going to make a profit hand-over-foot from their project," Halterman said. "What's fair about that? This town should be reimbursed for taking me away from town business."

Board members Bill Paxton and Dave Fisher said the town should charge more than $1,000 for annexation and create categories or sub-categories specifying a fee for each example of land-use changes of major impact.

The Town Board agreed to revisit that idea later.

The board then approved an amendment increasing the land-use change of major final impact fee for a residential unit from $25 to $100 and from $50 to $500 for other units.

The last amendment the Town Board approved increased the land-use change of minor impact fee from $10 to $50. Board member Angie Kralj KenCairn was wary of increasing the fee because she thought it would affect Oak Creek residents most. But, she said she supported the change after she realized the fee had not been increased since 1984.

Oak Creek codes list land use changes of minor impact as construction of garages, porches, house additions, residential subdivisions of no more than two parcels, relocation or construction of a duplex or triplex.

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