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Rodgers: Wheel Tax An Option, But Freed Up Sales Tax Dollars Ideal In Future

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Rodgers: Wheel Tax An Option, But Freed Up Sales Tax Dollars Ideal In Future

A wheel tax could work give Putnam County another revenue source instead of property tax increases in the future.

Budget Committee Chair Ben Rodgers said just over half the counties in the state have implemented a wheel tax to help fund a variety of projects. He said the average tax is about $25 per vehicle registration.

Rodgers said he does not necessarily promote the wheel tax but wants commissioners to keep it in mind as a way to relieve a burden on the taxpayer.

“My personal opinion is we have a lot of growth in our county through residential, commercial and we also have a lot of growth through sales tax,” Rodgers said. “I’m hoping as a commissioner and someone who serves in a leadership role on the commission, that we can finally utilize our sales tax once we get through these capital projects we’ve been paying cash for, which was needed. ”

Rodgers said the commission and County Mayor Randy Porter have done a good job knocking out as many capital projects. He said they are now at a point where they hopefully will not have to pay as much for capital projects, freeing up those sales tax dollars.

Rodgers said the wheel tax option had been discussed during budget sessions this year. However, he said commissioners did not want to implement both a wheel tax and a property tax increase in the same year.

“It’s definitely a revenue, it’s recurring revenue because as long as people are driving vehicles, they’re going to be paying this wheel tax,” Rodgers said. “And it’s going toward providing services for the county which is public safety, education, and your general services and your highways. It could help fund that and alleviate the burden on the taxpayer.”

Rodgers said ideally the sale tax will bring in the revenue that could be invested into the schools, the jail addition, and debt the commission inherited when they came into office. He said hopefully once that money gets freed up they can rely on sales tax more rather than raising property taxes or implementing a wheel tax.

However, Rodgers said the wheel tax will always be there as an option should a county commission decide it wants to implement one. He said it would have to go through three different approval processes before it would be implemented.


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