MENOMONIE Dunn County is discussing a $20 vehicle registration fee to fix roads as part of its 2020 budget.
If adopted, the wheel tax would be required for each car, van, SUV and truck under 8,000 pounds that is registered with an address in the county.
Trucks registered as “farm” or those that weigh more than 8,000 pounds, along with buses, motorcycles and motor homes would be exempt.
The fee would take effect beginning in 2020 if the County Board approves the plan at a Nov. 12 meeting.
An estimated $726,000 could be raised per year based on the 36,300 vehicles in the county, according to the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Maintenance and repairs to the county’s trunk road system is a critical need,” County Manager Paul Miller said at the county’s most recent board meeting on Wednesday.
The county board’s executive committee recommended the fee and it would be collected upon renewal of current registrations.
Following state law, funds received from a wheel tax must be used for county road repairs, maintenance and improvement.
Eleven counties in the state have wheel taxes. In the region, St. Coix and Chippewa counties have $10 fees, though Chippewa’s expires at the end of the year. Eau Claire County approved a $30 fee last year.
According to Dunn County data, the county has 425 miles of highway with the average age of the roads being 37 years old. Asphalt prices have nearly doubled since 2005 as the product has risen from $23.80 per ton to $46.50 a ton.
Miller said the registration fee would reduce the amount of money used from the general fund for road projects.
“For years the state has underfunded local roads, and while the new biennium budget is an improvement, Dunn County has a lot of catching up to do,” Miller said.