Soda water may not pop to mind when issues of government
inefficiency bubble up, but the Oconomowoc Common Council took
action Tuesday, bursting a fee that generates a net loss for the
The council unanimously approved the repeal the city’s
decades-old soda water license ordinance requiring any
establishment that serves or sells soda water beverages pay a $5
There is no mandate for the fee in state statutes, but they do
limit it to $5 per year.
City Clerk Diane Coenen said she crunched the numbers and found
the city was losing money by enforcing the fee.
The city collected an average of $479 per year in soda water
fees over the last five years but spent an average of $1,551
processing the licenses during that span — a net loss of $1,072
It takes approximately 25 minutes for one soda water fee to be
processed at an average cost of $16.16 per application.
“Based on that and that I believe staff’s time can be used on
other priorities, I am recommending we repeal this code so we no
longer have to issue soda water licenses,” Coenen said.
Alderman Matt Rosek, secretary of the Protection and Welfare
Committee that recommended the repeal, lauded Coenen’s efforts
and suggested the staff look into other ordinances not mandated
by state statute.
“At some point I’d like a list of all of our
other licenses we are charging for that we aren’t required to
charge for per state statute — find out if we can do a little
bit more of this,” Rosek said. “It seems like it’s good for the
folks and businesses. I applaud your efforts on this one.”
According to Rosek the law has been on the
books “as long as anyone could remember,” and staff and Mayor
Jim Daley agreed it was at least 50 years old.