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Marquette County to consider $20 Wheel Tax

 

The Marquette County Board of Supervisors is considering a $20 annual wheel tax that would be paid at the time residents renew their license plates each year. Recommended by the County Highway Committee, ten cents of the $20 per vehicle charged by the county would go to the state to cover their overhead. The tax covers cars, pick-ups and SUV’s.  The tax would raise about $288,000 per year, which by law must be used for transportation costs.

According to Highway Committee Chair Marv Groskreutz, the department got off their schedule for maintaining county roads about 12 years ago. The additional funds will hopefully get the roads back up to par without borrowing money and will make the county eligible for more matching funds through state programs.

The fee applies to vehicles kept in the county with automobile registration and truck registration at 8,000 lbs or less (except dual purpose farm).

This includes most special license plates with automobile or truck registration. The special plates that are exempt from the wheel tax are: Antique, Collector (Collector Special plates are not exempt), Ex-Prisoner of War (if issued without registration fee), Historic Military, Hobbyist, Medal of Honor and US Veteran Motorcycle. All special plates issued to a farm truck, dual purpose farm truck, or motor home are also exempt from wheel tax.

Supervisor Mike Raddatz opposes the tax because he feels it is an unfair tax since it does not include all vehicles. He feels that a better solution would be to create a half-cent gas tax to raise funds.

The city of Appleton, Township of Arena, City of Beloit, City of Janesville, City of Milwaukee, Chippewa County, Iowa County and St. Croix County all have wheel taxes that range between $10 and $20.

There will be a public hearing on the matter in May. It will then go for a vote at the May County Board meeting.

In other news from the Highway Committee, Highway Commissioner Randy Ravenscroft was authorized to purchase a Chevrolet Equinox, not to exceed $25,000 for his use, as the pick-up he has been using will now be assigned to Jayson Peschel, who was recently promoted to County Road Superintendent.

It was also announced that the Fund 29 carryover is at $203,437, subject to end of the year adjustments. This fund is typically used as a reserve to pay for items such as sand and salt on a bad winter.

There have been discussions on long-term master planning, according to the February minutes of the county Property Committee. Courtroom changes were discussed, which involve the moving of the jury box, separating the DA and Defense, prisoner shackle to the floor, and changes to walls and carpets.

A new impound lot behind the Services Center will be necessary, due to the road connecting to County C through the property. A 50’ by 100’ pole building for cold storage is being contemplated.

There has also been a lot of activity in the Public Safety Committee. According to the March committee minutes, Coroner Tom Wastart was present and advised there have been 27 cases so far this year, with two suspicious in nature from December and January that have been solved recently.

EMS Director Tim Houslet was also present at the committee meeting. He discussed long-range planning options for EMS in the next 10 years. Several options were given for a long-range comprehensive plan, one of which includes going to a full time, 24/7, operation with in-house service. Sleeping quarters would need to be constructed in Montello, Oxford, and Westfield. A second option would be contracting with a private company for ambulance service, and a third option would be continuing as is, but with more volunteer staff. The options will continue to be explored as planning for the future continues. A new facility could possibly be constructed in the Crossroads Clinic area for full-time staffing for all of the county.