Swift County won’t raise wheelage tax

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With an August deadline to decide whether or not it wants to increase its wheelage tax, the Swift County Board of Commissioners discussed raising it only briefly last month.

Commissioners implemented the $10 wheelage tax for 2014 and renewed each year since collecting about $115,000 annually from the surcharge on vehicle license renewals. They have already approved collecting the $10 tax again in 2018.

Next year state law allows counties to implement an annual wheelage tax in $1 increments from $1 up to $20. Between 2014 and 2017, the wheelage tax was a fixed $10. A $20 wheelage tax would give the county the ability to collect up to $230,000 for county road projects; but that won’t be happening. Commissioners will be leaving the wheelage tax at $10.

“We are given the opportunity to raise it, or we can lower it, the difference is that originally we were limited to one amount, but today we can go from $1 to $20,” Commissioner Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton said at the county board’s June 20 meeting.

“I would bring it up and make people aware of that fact,” he said. “If there is an option for changing it, one way or the other, we could do that. Overall, if we made a change, what would it do? What we would spend it on is very important.”

Hendrickx said he was not speaking for or against it, but that he wanted the county board to be aware of the opportunity it had. Commissioners could have the county highway engineer draw up a list of projects for which the wheelage tax could be used, he said. “If we have some unmet needs, we can have a discussion,” Hendrickx added.

However, he said that if there is no interest in implementing a higher wheelage tax then it doesn’t make any sense to have Engineer Andy Sander work on developing that list....


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