At its June meeting, the Eau Claire County Board began consideration of a $30 vehicle registration fee that would be used to improve the quality of the 421 miles of County highways and avoid additional borrowing. The fee is expected to be discussed at the County Board's next meeting on July 17.
The City Resolution, sponsored by Council Members Kate Beaton and Andrew Werthmann. It points out that 72 percent of the 35,944 automobiles registered in Eau Claire County are located in the City, which is also responsible for maintaining 965 streets covering 347 miles. It suggests that the County either share 70 percent of the fees collected with the City, or reduce its proposed fee to $10 per vehicle to allow the City to consider a registration fee option of its own.
Specifically, the resolution, if passed, would state: "The Eau Claire City Council respectfully asks the Eau Claire County Board to consider a shared approach to the collection and distribution of local vehicle registration fees so that important transportation needs can be addressed in a fair and equitable manner."
In 2008, the City and County considered a $10 wheel tax that would have been split 70/30, but it was not implemented. Municipalities like the City and County each have specific authority to levy vehicle registration fees up to $50, generally applying to automobiles but not motorcycles or commercial vehicles over 8,000 pounds. The highest current wheel tax in the state is $30.
The Council meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10. The otherwise relatively light agenda includes required approval of a special event application from the Children's Museum of Eau Claire to close two blocks of Barstow St. and one block of Grand Ave. for a block party on Sunday, July 29. The Council's regular 7 p.m. Monday meeting was cancelled because there were no agenda items requiring a public hearing.
More information: Sharing the wheel tax: Eau Claire City Council seeks talks with county (Leader-Telegram), City Council Agenda Packet for July 10
Posted by: Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director