APPLETON – The debate over who should pay for road repairs in Appleton continues. Should it be homeowners or drivers?
The city’s finance committee talked about the issue at a meeting Wednesday.
The committee discussed a possible wheel tax. The tax would help pay for road reconstruction.
In the end, the committee did not vote on the issue.
“We will be talking in the very near future about the special assessment policy for road reconstruction projects,” explained alderman Curt Konetzke.
Currently, property owners along affected roads pay for reconstruction under special assessments.
The wheel tax would be an extra $20 drivers would to pay to register their vehicles in Appleton.
Some residents on John Street and Telulah Avenue are facing big bills for repairs scheduled next year under special assessments and they’re hoping to see a wheel tax put in place to help pay those bills instead.
“$20 in a budget a year, is doable. Ten thousand dollars in five years, that’s $200 a month, not including interest? I mean, I don’t know where that money is supposed to come from,” said Shannon Tynen, one resident facing a special assessment.
But some citizens paid for special assessments in the past and said they don’t want to keep paying.
“While I empathize with you, I think it’s grossly unfair that the rest of us, who have already paid it, now you’re going to tax us?” said Terry Wollin.
One issue with the wheel tax is it does not affect all vehicles. Under state law only cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks are subject to the fee. That leaves out vehicles like semi trucks.
“In essence, it’s not a fair policy for all the taxpayers of the city of Appleton for when we’re funding road projects,” said Konetzke.
Ald. Joe Martin introduced the wheel tax idea. He told FOX 11 it may not be a perfect solution, but it is the best one.
“Our streets are used by everybody. How do we have everyone pay for it? I just think the wheel tax is the fairest way to go,” Martin explained.
The committee is expected to discuss special assessments again within the next few months.
The city could consider other options like raising property taxes or borrowing money to take pressure off individual homeowners for the road reconstruction.