Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Commissioners approve additional $5 annual license plate tax

Lucas County drivers should expect to pay another $5 in fees when registering their license plate next year.

Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved increasing the permissive motor vehicle license tax, an assessment that is estimated to generate $1.8 million each year for area road and bridge work.

A number of people have expressed desire to see this measure pass, Commissioner Carol Contrada said. Some compared it favorably to the cost of a tire replacement, she said.

“I am very much in support of this investment in our community,” she said.

The county currently collects $15 in license plate fees. It enacted the first two $5 fees in 1987 and added a third in 2006. State officials draw another $34.50, while municipalities can enact their own.

Revenue has has not kept pace with inflation and construction costs, as asphalt and petroleum prices rise, according to the engineer's office.

Several counties have already passed this increase, including Franklin, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton. Wood and Ottawa counties also scheduled hearings, officials said.

For the price of two cups of coffee per year, residents will help make a large infrastructure investment, Commissioner Pete Gerken said.

Mr. Gerken has said it is necessary for municipalities to act. Many have seen state funding reductions while faced with costly road repair projects.

“We're not asking folks just to pay more money without getting anything in return,” Mr. Gerken said.

State law permits collection to begin on 2019 registration. The commissioners held two public meetings in advance of the vote.

Separately Tuesday, commissioners approved changes to trash collection in Whitehouse. The agreement with A.R.S. Refuse Service of Archbold brings wheeled trash bins and curbside recycling to households.

Residents’ monthly fee is $11.49, up from a previous rate of $9 that was also expected to increase. The village contract is for roughly $200,000 per year, compared to a previous in-house service cost of about $355,000 annually.

Previously, Whitehouse workers picked up garbage from a variety of containers. These new bins will better keep trash from littering the village, said Jim Shaw, county sanitary engineer.

Mr. Shaw said he hopes to work with Springfield and Sylvania townships, where residents can directly subscribe to private haulers, toward a similar bundle service. It could collectively save money and aid roads, he said.

“One garbage truck equates to anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 passenger vehicles on a road on a given day,” Mr. Shaw said. “When you have that amount of weight on a given axle, on a road, it really takes a toll on streets.”

Contact Ryan Dunn at rdunn@theblade.com, 419-724-6095, or on Twitter @RDunnBlade.

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