The positive feedback was misconstrued. In fact, Wisconsin’s Milk Haulers Association is formally objecting to the permit fee being levied against commercial milk haulers.
That’s one of the many takeaways after reading the January 17, 2023, letter sent to the Chippewa County Highway Commissioner and the county’s elected board of supervisors.
Opens with a clear correspondence
“On behalf of the Wisconsin Milk Haulers Association, this correspondence is its formal objection to a proposed fee-based permit for commercial motor vehicles that haul milk in Chippewa County,” Dan Johnson, administrator for the Wisconsin Milk Haulers Association, clearly wrote.
The letter opens, “This issue came to light in the January 9, 2023, issue of Hoard’s Dairyman which detailed the discussions previously held between your office and a small group of stakeholders, including milk haulers,” continued Johnson in a letter addressed to Brian Kelley who serves as Highway Commissioner for Chippewa County Highway Department. “At the time, they did not believe those discussions would lead to a permit which includes a $100 per truck fee targeted at commercial milk hauling vehicles only. The Association believes the decision to create such a permit with a fee is at best arbitrary, and at worst, discriminatory,” continued Johnson of the Chippewa County’s recent ruling on the matter.
“According to your comments, a county road was forced to closed due to ‘damage from unknown heavy loads being transported during the annual spring road ban period.’ There is no mention of any incident where commercial milk trucks are shown to be the sole reason for the road damage, yet the highway department has unilaterally made such a determination and proposed a $100 per truck commercial milk truck permit,” wrote Johnson to Chippewa’s Highway Commissioner. “Failure to obtain said permit may lead to sanctions and restrictions against milk haulers. No other type of commercial motor vehicle is required to obtain this type of permit from the County, thus the Association can only conclude the permit is discriminatory on its face value,” continued Johnson.
“The article describes how meetings were held with stakeholders and ‘a lot of positive feedback from milk haulers on the outcome of this process’ was received,” Johnson pointed out. “It is the position of the Association any such feedback received was prior to the knowledge the County would assess a $100 per truck permit fee. It is unclear if the fee was reviewed by the Chippewa County Board of Supervisors with an allowance for public hearings or a vote, but it appears it was not,” Johnson wrote on behalf of Wisconsin’s milk haulers. “Certainly, had that been the case, the milk hauling industry would not provide such positive feedback. In addition, any such fees or additional expenses incurred by milk haulers may simply be passed along to local farms and farmers,” Johnson wrote of the economics on the matter and the eventual cost to Chippewa County dairy farmers.
“While it appears the County is moving forward with this $100 per truck permit for commercial milk hauling vehicles only, the Association requests reconsideration of such action and the ability to discuss the matter further to find a more palatable solution,” stated Johnson. “If not, then the Association will remain on record as strongly opposed to the fee for the Chippewa County milk hauler overweight permit.”
To learn more about the concerns on this evolving situation, read the Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Comment, “Could road limits cut up the Dairy State?”