RF City Council eliminates monthly environmental fee

By Andrew Harrington
Posted 6/1/23

RIVER FALLS – The River Falls City Council May 9 unanimously elected to reduce an environmental impact fee to $0 that helped fund the city’s former landfill.

Households were paying …

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RF City Council eliminates monthly environmental fee


RIVER FALLS – The River Falls City Council May 9 unanimously elected to reduce an environmental impact fee to $0 that helped fund the city’s former landfill.

Households were paying 63 cents monthly to the Environmental Fee Fund, which was up to $3.2 million in assets at the end of 2022. The fee will officially be set to $0 on July 1, and the decision will also lead to the creation of a policy for the council to handle interfund loans in the future.

This was not the first time the topic has come up in 2023, as the council previously debated if the fee should stay in place back on Jan. 24.

At the time it was debated whether the fee should be removed entirely, reduced or that it should have a more planned out process for where the fees go after they are paid. Ultimately, the council decided to leave the fee as is and come back at a later date.

The topic was picked up again during the May 9 meeting, with debate sparking once more.

Alderperson Scott Morrissette was focused on creating a policy for both interest rate and repayment period for interfund loans that amount to $1.5 million in the Environmental Fee Fund.

With the projected costs of $40,000 annually, it is projected that the fund could cover costs for the next 40 years, and the repayment of the interfund loans to the city would greatly extend the timeframe.

The fee was changed to $0 rather than removed off the fee schedule entirely to keep the option open to increase the fee again if expenses rise.

“I think it’s our responsibility as the fiscal stewards of other people’s money to make sure that we memorialize that for future councils to keep top of mind,” Morrissette said.

According to City Administrator Scot Simpson, even if the council approves without a policy in place, they can draft one for review or for action on another interfund loan issue that arises.

Alderperson Jeff Bjork agreed that a policy for these loans should be put into place, but also shifted focus back to the fee in general.

“Not that we shouldn’t keep the fund, but I think fees being collected are improper at this point,” Bjork said.

While the decision allowed the conversation to end for the time being, the city has other interfund loans, and some council members expressed desire to create a policy.

“I’d like to see some sort of policy,” Morrissette said. “Especially as we just saw in the workshop, we are going to have more interfund loans come up.”


New Life Worship Center

The council adopted an ordinance approving the annexation of certain property between Troy and River Falls which would go to the New Life Worship Center. The location of the land is 99 Highway 35 and 101 Highway 35.

The worship center is relocating from its previous location at 116 E. Walnut St.

New Life Worship Center plans to use the pre-existing buildings on the land to convert into a church, youth center and administrative offices.

Council bylaws

The council approved the Council Bylaws that were discussed April 18, after some discussion. Alderperson Nick Carow, who was not present at the April 18 meeting, brought up the fact that the number of council members needed to get an item on the agenda was changing from two to three.

“If we had seen a problem the last couple years, i.e., council members putting on all sorts of weird stuff, and then us having to more or less defeat as a body to move on with business I’d feel different,” Carow said. “Once it becomes three, it’s just one extra hurdle.”

Carow said if an unresponsive mayor comes along in the future, it allows for council members to get things on the agenda easier.

Morrissette believes that even with an unresponsive mayor, if something is important enough to get on the agenda, there should not be a problem getting three council members to get something on the agenda.

Alderperson Alyssa Mueller agreed with Carow, but the two were ruled against 4-2.

Environmental Fee Fund, River Falls City Council, River Falls, Wisconsin