County board to consider wheelage taxes

Published 1:04 pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

Freeborn County commissioners on Tuesday will consider approving a wheelage tax for road repairs after the Legislature recently expanded the option beyond the Twin Cities’ metro counties.

The tax would be $10 per car or truck, based on where the vehicle is ordinarily stored or parked during non-business hours or when not in use. The tax is applied to most cars and trucks, but not motorcycles, mopeds, trailers, boat trailers, collector cars or all-terrain vehicles.

Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said about 29,000 vehicles in the county would fall under the tax and would bring in an estimated $290,000 a year for the Highway Department.

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If the tax is approved, it would go into effect in January and would be paid annually at the time of vehicle registration.

Kluever said commissioners briefly discussed the issue at a workshop this week,and the idea seemed somewhat favorable to the commissioners who were present. Commissioner Jim Nelson was not in attendance.

Kluever said if the tax is passed, the state would likely collect the funds and then return them to the county on a monthly basis.

Counties have to decide by Aug. 1 if they want to charge the tax in 2014. Otherwise, they’ll have to wait another year.

Mower, Brown and Dodge counties have already approved the tax.

Lawmakers also recently made it possible for Minnesota’s counties to impose a retail sales tax of a half-cent per $1 to help pay for transportation and transit projects.

Kluever said there has been little discussion about the sales tax locally.