Boots & Sabers

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1406, 20 Aug 16

Fees Proposed for Washington County Parks

I admit, I’m a little torn on this.

The Washington County Board is going to be considering a new entrance fee for the county park system.

Jay Shambeau, Washington County Planning and Parks Administrator, said the entrance fee is only in the discussion phase. He said the fee is being proposed as part of the county’s priority based budgeting. “We need to either stop funding the parks or raise revenue in another manner,” Shambeau said.

Bullet points on proposed entrance fee:

-“The fee would be similar to the state park sticker where you purchase a daily or annual entrance-fee sticker and then put it in your window,” said Shambeau.

-The proposed rate is $5 for daily park admittance or $25 for an annual sticker to get in the parks.

-Waukesha County has already enacted a similar plan to help off-set the cost of maintaining the parks. Its fee is $4 a day or $22 for an annual pass. Shambeau said Waukesha County is already in discussions to raise its fee.

On the one hand, I’m all for the fee. I love the county parks and would certainly be one of those people buying the yearly pass. I also don’t have a problem with people paying for what they use.

But what I don’t like to see is a government implementing fees without a corresponding decrease in taxes. If the County wants to shift from paying for more stuff with fees in order to decrease the general tax burden, then absolutely. If the County wants to implement fees as a way to spend more money without increasing the general tax burden, then no thank you.

Oh, and get rid of that dang county sales tax that was supposed to be “temporary.”


1406, 20 August 2016


  1. billphoto you nailed this one.  Washington County is and has been awash with sales tax money for years.  As the Cabelas loan is conditioned on the sales tax (and if it were to end taxpayers would be on the hook for the balance of the loan) anyone that thinks this tax will end is ill informed.  Washington County taxes are higher than Ozaukee and Waukesha – and Waukesha does not have a County sales tax.

    As a former County Supervisor that served on both Finance and Executive Committee, I would suggest cutting the hidden $1M annual expense for Fair Park, the $250K for the golf course and sell the historical buildings to the Historical Society for $1 ending the $250K+ that goes there every year.  There is a lot more waste but these are a couple that come to mind.

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    So parks are an expense rather that a revenue source in Washington Cty ?  In our northern county we cherish our parks and the tourists that come to visit them, spending money at local establishments.  We view the parks as a tremendous asset to both our citizens and the folks that visit us. Yes we have user fees, and yes we have a .5% county sales tax.

    The WI Dept of Tourism has some great information on how much is spent locally for each day use or comping experience.

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