DARKE COUNTY — At its Wednesday regular session, the Darke County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a much-debated permissive tax.
The $10 tax will be assessed on any licensed, motor-operated vehicle in Darke County, including automobiles, motorcycles, trailers and boats. The tax is in addition to existing license fees assessed by the State of Ohio.
The total amount collected cannot exceed $15 per vehicle registration. The amounts collected under Darke County’s tax will vary based upon jurisdictions within the county that already collect a permissive tax.
Based on current vehicle registrations in the county, it is estimated the tax will bring in more than $500,000 per year to the county as well as entities within the county. Approximately $457,000 will go to the county, $33,000 to the City of Greenville, $38,000 divided among 20 incorporated villages, and $66,000 split between 20 townships.
The tax will become effective beginning January 2018. The revenue collected is earmarked specifically for road and bridge construction projects within the county.
The commissioners held two public hearings on the issue in July. At the hearings, some citizens expressed displeasure either with the fact that they were being assessed a new tax, or had concerns related to the county’s operation of the airport and the nearby Chase Road construction project, work on which is slated to begin this fall.
During the same session, the Darke County Commissioners — Mike Stegall, Diane Delaplane, and Mike Rhoades — passed a resolution directing the Darke County Engineeer to design and develop the Chase Road project. According to Darke County Engineer Jim Surber, the first two years of revenue collected by the permissive tax for county use will be earmarked toward this project.
The decision to enact the permissive tax came at the bequest of the engineer and with input from township trustees.
Stegall said, “They all need help. They really do. They can’t keep operating on the same amount of money. What people don’t realize is, as the fuel mileage standards go up, revenues (for roads and bridges) go down. It’s just not there.”
“[Surber has] been presenting more and more figures more recently over the past three years with this revenue situation,” said Delaplane. “So there really was a push and now is time to do something.”
“It’s gotten to the point that the governor balanced the budget, over there, on the countys’ and engineers’ back, and consequently has taken away more local government funds,” said Rhoades. “Now, we had to do something.”