Just Fix It Wisconsin

Milton Council approves $30 wheel tax 11/30/2016

11/30/2016, The Milton Courier – As soon as March or April 2017, the City of Milton will have a wheel tax .

The city council approved the second reading of an ordinance, waived the third reading and adopted an ordinance establishing a motor vehicle registration fee, known more commonly as “a wheel tax.”

The wheel tax will apply to automobiles and trucks at 8,000 lbs. or less (except dual purpose farm). (For other exceptions, go to http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/vehicles/title-plates/wheeltax.aspx.) The tax is $30 per vehicle kept in the city.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will collect the wheel tax fee when a vehicle is first registered and when the registration is renewed each year.

When city residents get a postcard in the mail from WisDOT , they will see the city’s $30 wheel tax plus the state fee, which for an automobile is $75. A list of vehicle license plate fees can be found here: http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/vehicles/title-plates/license-plates.aspx.

The full fee is required before a registration is issued or renewed. Renewals take place a year from when the registration was issued. Not everyone will have the same renewal dates.

THE PURPOSE

City administrator Al Hulick said at Tuesday’s city council meeting the purpose of the wheel tax is to extend the useful life of roads and avoid having to do more costly fixes.

The mill and overlay that took place this year on Chicago Street, for example, would be considered a more costly fix and came in at about $130,000, he said.

With 5,271 vehicles in the city, the wheel tax is expected to generate about $165,000 for the city.

“The idea with the wheel tax is to provide some mitigating maintenance to streets that are 6s, 7s, 8s (on a 10-point scale), to try to extend the useful life of those streets five, 10 years,” he said.

“…Every year we face declining revenues from the state … this is an issue that is impacting all communities in Wisconsin.”

If the city looked to generate $165,000 through property tax instead of a wheel tax, the owner of an average home (assessed at $134,000 in Milton) would see a $74 increase. The difference between that $74 and $60 (for a household with two vehicles) may seem a small solace when discussing taxes, Hulick said, but it is the most-cost effective way for the city to generate revenue.

WHY?

Prior to the unanimous city council vote, city resident Nancy Seibert asked why the city is not getting money from the state to maintain roads.

Seibert argued a wheel tax may do more harm than good.

“I don’t think it’s a smart way to collect the money,” she said.

She also noted other municipalities have $10 and $20 wheel taxes. (Wheel taxes in Janesville and Fort Atkinson are $20.)

Hulick later said Milwaukee County recently passed a $30 wheel tax.

City resident Rob Dajinski asked why motorcycles were not included in the wheel tax. Mayor Anissa Welch said the state sets the guidelines for what can be taxed.

Dajinski also asked “What are you doing about cars in driveways that don’t have license plates and have been there for six months?”

Police Chief Scott Marquardt encouraged Dajinski and other residents to contact the police department with addresses where this is occurring.