The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors tabled action on the implementation of an annual $20 county vehicle registration fee (wheel tax) ordinance that was on the agenda of the Tuesday, May 19 meeting.
The idea of implementing an annual wheel tax was brought up by Lafayette County Highway Commissioner, Tom Jean, several months ago, as a way to supplement the highway department funds, due to the rising cost of operation and declining revenue.
Several citizens who attended the meeting voiced concern with the tax being unfair and not targeting those who are doing the most damage to roads throughout the county, as the tax would only be implemented to vehicles less than 8,000 pounds and would exempt all special plates issued to a farm truck, dual purpose farm truck or motor home.
Several county board members also voiced concern with the issue of fairness concerning this tax and noted that they had gotten several calls or comments from constituents unhappy with the idea of implementing the tax in Lafayette County.
“ I think it’s an unfair tax to the people who will be obligated to pay for it,” said county supervisor Larry Ludlum.
Supervisor Bob Boyle asked if it wouldn’t just be a better option to borrow the money rather than tax the population that isn’t necessarily doing the most damage to the roads.
“I don’t favor taxing the people not doing the damage,” agreed board chairman, Jack Sauer. “I think there’s a fair way to do this and I don’t think this is the way to do it.”
“Nobody said this world was fair,” said supervisor Dwayne Larson, who proposed the ordinance.
Jean spoke on the ordinance as well, stating, “I know it’s not maybe the fairest tax, and the state is considering implementing another half of a percent increase in sales tax that could be considered instead, but I don’t want to see that discourage people from shopping in the county. We just want to stay competitive with other counties and this vehicle registration fee is what the state legislature allows us to do.”
After it was evident that the ordinance would not have much support from the board, Larson made a motion to table the ordinance that was seconded by David Hammer.