WARSAW — After some disagreement that included a split vote that bumped the issue forward another month, the Kosciusko County Council unanimously agreed on a revision to the county’s wheel tax.
“Look at that, seven hands in the air,” said Council President Sue Ann Mitchell when the council voted to pass one of two Wheel Tax proposals on Tuesday night, July 23. “I realize it’s been quite a process, but I’m grateful that we can finally put this to bed.”
Prior to the vote, County Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden told the council that with 1,163 miles of roads to maintain, funding from the state has been waning. He said that during a six-month period ending at the end of last month, his department received more than a half million dollars less than during the same time period a year ago.
“Last month alone, for June, it was down 20 percent,” he said. “That’s just some of the things I wanted to share. We’re still behind the eight ball, but we’re making strides.”
Prior to making a motion to accept the Wheel Tax version that increased the tax on trailers over 7,000 pounds and farm trailers of all weights, Council Member Mike Long said the writing has been on the wall that some increases were needed.
“It’s been increasingly obvious that even with the increase in the Wheel Tax, we’re starting to dig a hole here,” he said. “I don’t see that there’s an alternative.”
Council Member Kimberly Cates said the council considered all factors before agreeing to make some increases.
“We’re not just raising it, we’re looking at what we have to spend,” she said.
The Wheel and Excise Tax generated $2,681,572.24 in revenue in 2018, which was divided among 14 county municipalities and the county’s highway department. Under the new wheel tax, trucks of 7,000 pounds to 11,000 pounds, along with automobiles, will pay $35, up from the previous tax of $25. Historical vehicles, motorcycles and motor driven cycles will all remain at $25. For semi trucks and semi trailers, as well as farm trucks, buses, special buses and recovery vehicles, the price will rise from $40 to $60.
Trailers smaller than 7,000 pounds be lowered from $40 to $25, including snowmobile trailers.