Delaware Co. Township Eyes License Renewal Tax To Increase Revenue

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As officials in Washington try to find fixes for the nearly depleted federal highway trust fund, a Delaware County township has its own infrastructure worries. Officials in Liberty Township – which encompasses Powell – might implement a new license plate renewal fee.

Townships are struggling financially says Tom Mitchell chair of Liberty Township’s trustees.

“All townships are being squeezed for money. We don’t have a lot of tools at hand to generate economic development,” Mitchell says.

That means the township has trouble keeping its roadways repaired.

“Roads are a big part of our budget. Our roads are designed to last a certain amount of time and we’re more than double that time. And we’ve got to figure out what to do,” Mitchell says.

One idea: add $5 to the cost of each license plate renewal. State law authorizes the addition of a so-called permissive tax. Mitchell says from what he hears, constituents are about evenly divided on the proposal.

“Some residents say we have to do something and $5 a car isn’t that big of a deal. Others, they’re tired of being nickeled and dimed to death,” Mitchell says.

The township will hold two public hearings then the three trustees will vote the proposal up or down. If approved, the fee would generate between $75,000 and $100,000 dollars a year. That’s not much for road projects but it would buy the township time as it seeks long-term solutions.

If the license plate fee fails to materialize, residents would be asked to raise their taxes by approving a levy in 2016.

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