Board approves wheelage tax

Mille Lacs County will be joining a number of other Minnesota counties in imposing a tax of $10 per motorized vehicle per year starting in 2014.

There was one road bump on the way to the five Mille Lacs commissioners – chairman Phil Peterson and Tim Wilhelm, Genny Reynolds, Dave Oslin and Roger Tellinghuisen passing a resolution on July 16 to impose the tax. measure.

Reynolds, who represents District 1, the city of Princeton, and Tellinghuisen, who represents Disrict 4, the townships of Bogus Brook, Borgholm, Dailey, Hayland, Mudgett, Bradbury, Page, Onamia and Lewis and the city of Bock, voted no on the motion approving the resolution. The other three commissioners voted yes.

Reynolds said she didn’t think the public was given enough time to give input into the matter. Tellinghuisen said  after the meeting that the district he represents doesn’t have a lot of money for more taxes.

The wheelage tax has come rolling at a clip across the Minnesota landscape as a new way to help generate more tax money for roads, and the resolution that the Mille Lacs commissioners passed was likely a form similar to what boards passed at many other county courthouses.

The resolution has nine whereas clauses, the first one stating how the county’s transportation infrastructure forms the backbone of the county’s economy and has a direct impact on future economic development.

The second whereas says the county highway systems have remained stagnant in Minnesota and are failing to keep pace with growing population and growing demand.

The resolution goes on to say that the state’s local governments are struggling to maintain local transportation.

Then the resolution gets into the authority that counties have in imposing a wheelage tax. It quotes a Minnesota statute that allows a wheelage tax on each motor vehicle kept in the county when not in operation, at a rate of $10 per vehicle through 2017 and up to $20 per vehicle in 2018 and beyond.

The Mille Lacs resolution states that the wheelage tax will be “$10 for the year 2014 and each subsequent year thereafter on each motor vehicle subject to taxation and registration.

Wilhelm and at least one other Mille Lacs commissioner emphasized after passing the wheelage tax that the money is dedicated just for road and bridge type projects.