Voters will settle fate of wheel tax

Voters will settle fate of wheel tax
Voters in Clay County will have the final say on whether a wheel tax should be implemented to help maintain and construct bridges and roads.

At its June 14 meeting, the Clay County Commission agreed to impose a wheel tax ordinance that would levy an annual tax not to exceed $16 per registered vehicle.

That compelled Vermillion resident Paul Hasse to circulate petitions to refer the commission's decision to a public vote.

Hasse, with the help of a dozen other citizens, gathered 616 signatures on petitions. They needed 437 to refer the issue.

Citizens who wish to vote by absentee ballot may request a ballot to be mailed to them by filling out an Absentee Ballot Request Form that is available on the county auditor's Web site. Log on to and follow instructions on the site for submitting it to the auditor's office.

People may also vote absentee in the auditor's office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those who vote absentee at the auditor's office must present a photo I.D. Absentee Ballot Request Forms that are sent to the auditor by mail must either be notarized or must be accompanied by a copy of the voter's photo I.D.

A growing need for road and bridge repair and mounting costs prompted the commission to pass the ordinance enacting the wheel tax.

It is estimated the tax would generate roughly $200,000 annually that would be earmarked only for road and bridge repair and construction.

During a public hearing held last March, Clay County Commission Chairman Jerry Sommervold said revenue from the tax would allow the county to borrow a larger sum of money to pay for a major project.

The county attempted to enact a wheel tax 15 years ago. Hasse helped to stop that measure.

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