DARKE COUNTY — The Darke County Board of Commissioners will hold two public hearings this month — July 18 and 27 — regarding the proposed enactment of a permissive license tax in the county.
The proposed $10 tax would be assessed to the owners of any motor-operated vehicle in Darke County — including automobiles, motorcycles, trailers and boats — which is required to be licensed. The amount charged would be in addition to existing license fees charged by the State of Ohio.
The total amount collected cannot exceed $15 per vehicle registration. As well, amounts collected may vary based upon jurisdictions within the county that already collect a permissive tax.
If enacted, the tax will become effective beginning in January 2018.
Commissioner Mike Rhoades said, “This is all done through Ohio Revised Code. The money all goes to road and bridge construction and will be for earmarked for this specific purpose.”
Rhoades says funds raised by the tax will benefit everyone in the county, regardless of where they reside. “This is a fair tax. Anyone driving a vehicle will have to pay,” he said. “A percentage will go to all villages, a percentage will go to the townships and a percentage will go to the county.”
He noted the rising costs of road construction and limited funding by state and federal sources as the reason for the proposal.
“The price of asphalt has gone up, so we need another way to fund the roads to keep them in good condition,” he added.
Darke County Engineer Jim Surber says additional funding is welcome, but more is likely needed.
“It’s not going to heal anybody,” he said, “but it will close part of the gap between rising prices and revenue.”
Surber said the total anticipated revenue would be well more than $500,000 per year based on current vehicle registrations. An estimated $457,000 would 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.
He also echoed Rhoades’ contention regarding the rising costs of maintaining roadways.
“Asphalt is higher, bridge materials are higher — anything related to road and bridge construction is higher,” Surber said.
“I applaud them on the decision,” he added. “It’s the first time the commission has done something positive towards revenue of local roads and bridges since 1992. It’s a step in the right direction.”
The hearings will be held at the Darke County Administration Building at 520 South Broadway in Greenville. The first hearing is Monday, July 18 at 2 p.m. The second will be held Wednesday, July 27 at 6 p.m. The hearings are open to all citizens or organizations desiring to speak on the matter.
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