Are there any limits on the amount a municipality may charge for a license or permit issued by the municipality?
Yes. If the state legislature has not
established a specific charge or fee for a license or permit issued by a
municipality, the license charge or fee established by the municipality
must bear a reasonable relation to the service for which the fee is
imposed. Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0628(1). Accordingly, a fee may reflect the
cost of granting the license or permit (e.g., clerk’s and issuing
authority’s time) and of investigating, inspecting and exercising proper
police supervision. Where the legislature has set a range for fees
(e.g., the fee for a “Class B” liquor license has a minimum of $50 and a
maximum of $500), a municipality may set the fee anywhere within the
statutory range, without justifying the particular fee. Sluggy’s Lake Front Inn, Inc. v. Delavan,
125 Wis. 2d 199, 372 N.W.2d 174 (Ct. App. 1985). If the charge or fee
for a license or permit is not reasonably related to the expenses
incurred by the municipality under the regulation, the charge or fee
will be deemed an unlawful tax.