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How Much Will Your Community Pay for the Recall?

Municipalities across the state have submitted an estimated price tag for holding a special election if the recall effort moves forward.

Freedom isn’t free, and neither are recalls.

On Tuesday, organizers for the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker submitted more on petitions. That's a ton of signatures, not figuratively, but quite literally 2,000 pounds of stacked paper in document boxes were delivered via a small moving van and unloaded by a team of volunteers outside the Government Accountability Board offices in Madison.

A statewide recall election of the governor and as much as $17 million with a primary, according to numbers released by the GAB on Jan. 6.

How does that break down locally?

Depending on the community you live in, the total cost for the election could amount to the price tag of a weeklong tour in Europe, or match the sticker price of a nicely-equipped luxury vehicle.

In Menomonee Falls, the $37,000 total for an election could cover the village's cost for plowing and salting the roughly 200 miles of roadway after a snowstorm. On average, it cost the village $23,850 , according to data from DPW Director Arlyn Johnson.

The approximately $35,000 cost in Brookfield is roughly the same as the entire amount budgeted for materials and supplies in Brookfield's Park and Recreation Department. In Sussex, $5,000 is more than enough to cover the village's weed control operation, which costs $3,500 annually.

The GAB asked counties and municipalities to estimate months ago online detailing the total cost of holding a recall election based on November 2010 and April 2011 election costs. According to the survey results, the statewide estimated costs for the election broke down as follows:

  • Counties: approximately $2.3 million
  • Municipalities: approximately $5.8 million
  • GAB: approximately $840,000
  • Total: approximately $9 million (not including a possible primary)

In an effort to reveal the local share of that $5.8 million cost to municipalities, Patch.com contacted clerks in Patch communities to see the economic impact of the recall in your backyard. However, the total municipal costs do not include the price tag of a primary, throw his or her name in the ring to run against Walker.

Here are the costs estimates for a recall election complied GAB reports and local clerks:

Municipality Total Estimated Cost Wauwatosa           $42,220 City of Brookfield           $34,885 Menomonee Falls           $37,000 Shorewood           $22,137 Whitefish Bay           $12,000 Fox Point           $11,000 Bayside            $4,000 Town of Brookfield            $3,761 Sussex            $5,000 Port Washington           $10,000 Saukville            $3,362 Total          $185,365

Wauwatosa City Clerk Carla Ledesma reported to the GAB that the cost of holding recall elections would be $42,220 if she has to purchase an additional set of memory cards for electronic voting machines, at $9,520. Without that expense, the cost would be $32,700.

Menomonee Falls Village Clerk Janice Moyer said municpal costs are also dependent on the turnout, which she said is difficult to predict. Municipalities shoulder costs associated with poll worker wages, staff wages for processing ballots, postage for absentee ballots and rental fees for polling locations.

The county covers the cost for ballots and programming. According to reports submitted to the GAB, Waukesha County's cost, excluding costs fromeach municipality, would total $111,730 for an election. Milwaukee County estimated its costs at $203,800 for an individual recall election. The total cost in Ozaukee County would tally $30,591.

If a primary is required, the total costs would likely double.

Clerks offices throughout the state are becoming one of the busier locations inside government buildings. Municipalities across the state are not only holding additional elections, but also are working through redistricting and training poll workers about the new laws and regulations dictating elections.

Despite the added responsibilities, Moyer said her staff in Menomonee Falls remains on task.

“We already handled the recalls last year so we have dealt with the new laws and we will be ready to go. All the poll workers will be,” Moyer said.

Drive To 24 January 18, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Well Ian - you sound young so may I suggest you do some research on the history of unions.
Drive To 24 January 18, 2012 at 02:12 AM
So Walker -looks like you underestimated the will of 1 million Wisconsinites. Have fun looking for Mickey Mouse and keep in mind that the George and Barbara Bush signature is real. How was that NY trip to raise money with that former AIG exec who gave his executives millions in bonuses after AIG was bailed out. Walker spends more time out of state than in his office.
Alan January 18, 2012 at 02:15 AM
No need to cut services this year. Look how much is saved by not having to plow and salt the roads because of the mild winter WI is experiencing. Thank the Lord for that!....and making the recall petition goal X 2!!!!!!
Craig January 18, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Cynthia...Looks like Alan is in support of layoffs for plow drivers. We can always call them into work and halt their unemployment if it snows- then lay them off again. Guess Alan is a teacher and only cares about HIS benefits.
Ian Thomson January 18, 2012 at 03:00 AM
I will not even respond to that nonsense. grow up. likely i am much older than you. debate the issues, not individuals.
Steve January 18, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Walker was all over national TV and radio today speaking like the strong leader he is.
Steve January 18, 2012 at 05:31 AM
No he doesn't. Why do you guys just make up crap? Oh right seeing success and proving liberalism is a failure is against the cause.
Timothy Huber January 18, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Yeah! I don't want to have people challenge my ideas or require me to think I just want them to have to listen my stupid rantings. Is that so much to ask? WHOOO!!! MURICA!!! Do you have any idea how stupid you sound?
Walker January 18, 2012 at 01:33 PM
How 'bout we start with making walker pay for the signature validation like every other politician in history that was facing recall had to. Why should he get an exception? Rethugs are always changing the rules to suit their agenda. Which is why 1.9 million signed.
Bitter Clinger January 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
On the bright side, we don't have to see the creepy leftards loitering along Bluemound Rd anymore. As far as the signature validation goes, Game On
Walker January 18, 2012 at 03:19 PM
That's no way to talk about your grandparents. How disrespectful!
Michael Pyter January 18, 2012 at 04:05 PM
The real question should be; how much more are we all going to pay in taxes if Walker loses and a Democrat takes office? Will we return to the tax and spend and tax some more....anti business, Doyle years? Just what is it that the Democrats expect and how do they expect to pay for it?
Randy1949 January 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Good question. So far my the decrease to my taxes has been negligible, and that's with my house and land dropping to 3/4 of their former value. As for Doyle being anit-business, I would have thought BadgerCare Plus was a boon to Wisconsin business -- removing the burden of healthcare coverage from those struggling small (and not so struggling small) businesses. Watch hospital fees and insurance premium rise to make up for the new influx of people who will get sick and be unable to pay their bills because the state 'got tough' on those 'moochers'.
Craig January 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Even if homes values fell to 1/2 of what they were- taxes would stay about the same. They still need the revenue for all those services, so they just adjust the mill rate accordingly. I would gladly sell mine to the Village for what they have it valued at!
Steve January 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Randy would rather his taxes increase every year instead of stay the same or go down.
Bob McBride January 18, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Steve, Randy would prefer your taxes go up and his go down. He'd also like to see his property taxes adjusted to reflect his yearly income. I'm sure if there are any other things Randy would like done for him that I've missed, he'll be sure to spell them out for us.
Walker January 18, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Funny how the party of "no" thinks they "know" what anyone thinks & loves to put words in other people's mouths. Makes them feel superior I suppose.
Bob McBride January 18, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Walker, I was merely restating some stuff Randy's said here in the past. He thinks businesses (like those owned by Steve) should be paying higher taxes and he's got this idea that somehow his property taxes aren't fair because they stay essentially the same despite his income fluctuating.
Steve January 18, 2012 at 05:54 PM
We do know. It's easy knowing what a hypocrite liberal will say and has said in the past. It's always the same and has been for years.
Randy1949 January 18, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Whereas Bob McBride and Steve would rather see their taxes go down and mine go up. I think that's understood.
Bob McBride January 18, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Actually Randy I'd be more than happy to see yours go down as well. I just don't think you're going to get your wish as regards an income adjusted property tax.
Steve January 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Down for everyone. Cut pointless services and entitlements. More of your hard earned money staying in your pocket, increasing personal and business spending. More private services and products from that money that provide better service at better rates.
Randy1949 January 18, 2012 at 06:46 PM
@Steve-- what services and entitlements do you consider to be pointless? A fire department that shows up before your house burns to the ground? Public education (because not every family can afford a private or charter school, even with vouchers)? Unemployment insurance that keeps you from going under when your plant automates and your job is gone? Even those hated 'welfare' and 'food stamps'? Without them, you had better invest in a good home security system.
Steve January 18, 2012 at 07:55 PM
You guys always say that about the handouts. Fact is you create leaches with these programs because they never end. Even unemployment insurance now has a longer free ride. The more you give ou the less people will work for it on their own. The fire and police argument is silly this cost to taxpayers has always been paid. All of these extra handout programs and expanded governemnt we have been doing in the late 90's and early 2000's came to a point. The point was we ran out of other people's money. Time to cut back and let the taxypayer keep more, spend more and provide for themselves as a collective group.
BassGreat January 18, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Can we start with the lying lip service?
Randy1949 January 18, 2012 at 08:38 PM
So it's really only unemployment insurance, food stamps and Medicaid you want to cut, Steve? By the way, it's 'leeches'. The last time anyone in my family made use of unemployment insurance was back in the early 1990s. And it's true, the shorter it lasts the more willing you are to settle for underemployment. That's good for business, because it exerts a downward pressure on wages and benefits. I've never used food stamps or Medicaid and never would.
Steve January 18, 2012 at 09:42 PM
You're being too general here. Downtown train, train to Madison, silly green projects the list can go on. They waste all of this taxpayer money, usually borrowed, on senseless projects that are not funded especially during a socialist recession. IT's never enough, got to keep spending and spending and spending.
Craig January 18, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Wonder if one could find an attorney to file a class action suit against the DNC for dollars wasted.....?
Mrs. R January 19, 2012 at 02:56 AM
I hope the satisfied constituents will be calm and collected while the laws available are used to voice our disdain for a severely diminished Gov. With each passing day, Walker proves deceptive and dangerous for the future of our beloved State Of Wisconsin.
Tulsa January 19, 2012 at 06:37 PM
37 K is nothing for Menomonee Falls they gave 18 Million for a hotel and looks like they will be Bailing the Radisson out . .....RINOville

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