Representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Surveying & Mapping Section held a stakeholder meeting from 6pm-8pm on Tuesday, December 8th in Madison to discuss the status of the Wisconsin Height Modernization Program (WI-HMP) and provide information on plans for a systems maintenance fee.
The meeting kicked off with Ray Kumapayi, Chief Surveying & Mapping Engineer, as the facilitator providing an overview of the agenda. Jacob Rockweiler, WI-HMP Program Manager, then outlined the current status of the WI-HMP (active and passive networks), the WISCORS system (83 stations) and its requirements and cost, the WISCORS maintenance plan, state statute and system maintenance fees, the billing timeline, and WisDOT’s communication plans.
Act 20, the2013-15 Biennial Budget, created section 85.63 of state statutes, which directs WisDOT to administer a Surveying Reference Station System program and authorizes the agency to collect a fee for user access to the system. As the statutes indicate (see sidebar) all revenue will go into the general fund and then be appropriated for the program.
WisDOT indicated the WISCORS maintenance fee would be based on $305,000 for annual equipment maintenance and $49,500 for an annual billing system, totaling $354,500 annually. To offset this, WisDOT would be looking at an annual user fee of $450 per customer assuming 35% of the 2000+ current customers register for the system. There was some discussion of other types of users fees being available, such as fees for organizations, county surveyors, small business, etc.
WisDOT emphasized that collected fees will be used to maintain the WISCORS system, and that there are no effects on the passive WI-HMP system. Current levels of service for the WISCORS network would be maintained, including 24/7/365 output and system monitoring during regular work hours.
It was also mentioned their payment system will most likely only accept checks, money orders, and cash (no credit cards). This is because of the extra fees charged by the credit cards companies and for the machine itself.
The maintenance fee will not be implemented until at least the start of the next Fiscal Year, beginning July 2016.
Currently some other states charge for active network access (including Tennessee, Utah, and North and South Carolina); fee structures are quite variable. However, many other Midwest states do not charge a fee, including Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan.
WISDOT is planning further outreach and education to the user community before the new rules go into effect. For further information contact Jacob Rockweiler at Jacob.email@example.com.