By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — Two referendum questions — one binding and one advisory — will appear on ballots for Dunn County residents in the November 3 election.
The binding referendum question deals with exceeding the revenue limit by up to $1 million per year for five years for Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling, and the non-binding referendum question deals with fair redistricting of legislative maps.
The referendum question for Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling will read as follows:
“Under State law, the increase in the levy of the County of Dunn for the tax to be imposed for the next fiscal year, 2021, is limited to an estimated 1.6%, which results in an estimated levy of $22,443,781. Shall the County of Dunn be allowed to exceed this limit and increase the levy for the next five (5) fiscal years, 2021 through 2025, by up to $1,000,000 per year (which for 2021 equals an estimated additional 4.45% for a total estimated increase of 6.13% and results in 2021 in an estimated levy of $23,443,781) for the purpose of paying for costs associated with a household hazardous waste collection (clean sweep) program and capital expenditures of the Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling Program?”
Even though the county’s solid waste and recycling program will be closing down at the end of December, the referendum question is still on ballot because it was approved by the deadline and it is now too late to take the question off the ballot.
The referendum question was approved by the county board by the August deadline to put the question on the ballot, and then the municipalities decided to pull out of the Dunn County solid waste and recycling program after that.
Local Responsible Units will be operating the Colfax, Elk Mound and Boyceville collection sites as of January 1, and other local Responsible Units will be operating other collection sites for their residents.
If the referendum question were to be approved, the Dunn County Board has the option of not levying for and collecting the money.
A statement on the Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling website reads as follows:
“The Dunn County Solid Waste & Recycling Division will no longer be providing solid waste or recycling services after December 31, 2020. The ballot language for the referendum in support of the division’s capital improvements and Clean Sweep program was approved and submitted in preparation for the ballot print deadline on August 25th. In September, all member municipalities that participate in the County’s solid waste and/or recycling program made the decision to withdraw and provide their own services to their constituents beginning on January 1, 2021. Unfortunately, these decisions were made after the ballots were printed and changes could not be made to reflect the closure of the County program.
“Therefore, the opportunity to vote in support of solid waste and recycling capital improvements in Dunn County remains. If the referendum passes, the County Board of Supervisors will make a determination for when or if an appropriate time to implement the levy will occur, in support of a future County-managed solid waste and recycling program. This would be solely dependent on whether or not there is significant support for a return of these services at some point in the future.
“A ‘Yes’ vote for this referendum would show your support for keeping the possibility of future County-managed solid waste and recycling services under consideration.
“A ‘No’ vote for this referendum would indicate that you do not support the possibility of these County-managed services returning.”
Every 10 years after the census is completed, legislative maps are redrawn to reflect the changes in population.
Wisconsin is considered to be a highly gerrymandered state in terms of legislative districts, which means that Republican voters and Democratic voters are not equally distributed in the districts, with the end result being that politicians select their voters rather than the voters selecting their legislators.
Polls show that 75 percent of the people in Wisconsin are in favor of fair non-partisan redistricting.
Other states use non-partisan methods for redrawing the maps so that the maps do not favor either one political party or the other.
The question about fair redistricting of legislative maps is advisory only.
The question will appear on the ballot as follows: “Should the Wisconsin Legislature create a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional district plans and maps?
Explanatory Statement — Article IV, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution requires the legislature to redistrict according to the numbers of inhabitants following each decennial census. In Wisconsin, legislative district plans are enacted by law like any other bill requiring the approval of the state senate, assembly and the governor. Historically, if the senate, assembly and governor’s office are controlled by one political party the resulting legislative and congressional redistricting plans have been subject to partisan influence.
“A “’YES’ vote means the voter believes that a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting plans should be adopted by the Wisconsin Legislature.
“A ‘NO’ vote means the voter believes that the current process of enacting legislative redistricting plans through the Wisconsin Legislature like any other bill should be retained.”