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Thursday, August 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 66.0° F  Overcast
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Possible change to city fee collection downtown

The Madison Common Council is considering a proposal to change the way the city collects fees for maintaining the Capitol Square and State Street. Under the current formula, downtown property owners pay a special charge, depending on their square footage and the amount of frontage they have on the Square or State Street. The fund pays for things like snow plowing and sidewalk cleaning.

But some property owners on adjacent streets were paying the extra fee, even if they didn't get services.

"We heard a lot from property owners," says Mary Carbine, head of the Business Improvement District. "They did not like that."

Under the new proposal, 47 property owners that didn't get services before will no longer have to pay. Other parcels will start receiving services, for which they will be charged. The change results in an increase in costs for some property owners. For example, for Isthmus newspaper, on the Square, the formula change would hike the fee for 2008 from $413 to nearly $1,400.

Carbine says some of the cost variance is due to the amount of services needed. "We had a record 100 inches of snowfall," she says. "The budget this year was different from a budget in a mild winter."

But because some businesses will be getting a break, "There are different perspectives on this," says Carbine, adding that the council will hold a public hearing on the proposal. "I'm sure there will be a good discussion."

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