VALPARAISO — In a 4-3 vote, the City Council on Monday adopted a wheel tax ordinance.
Valparaiso joins Portage and Crown Point in enacting the tax to help pay for road improvement projects. The Indiana Legislature granted cities with a population more than 10,000 the ability to enact an annual fee on vehicles for the purpose of road repair, construction and maintenance. The wheel tax is an on-going annual fee that is raised through payments of vehicle registrations.
The wheel tax will go into effect Jan. 1 and will collect $25 per passenger vehicle and $40 per commercial vehicle registered within the city. The tax would be $12.50 for motorcycles, recreational vehicles and personal trailers.
"It is one of the few tools we have to put money into the local roads," Mayor Jon Costas said. "It's more of an investment than anything."
The three Democrats on the council — Diana Reed, Deb Porter and Robert Cotton — voted against the tax.
Republicans John Bowker, Lenore Hoffman, Matt Murphy and Trista Hudson voted in favor of the tax.
Public Works Director Matt Evans said the road resurfacing and maintenance budget averages $1.5 million annually, nearly $2.2 million less than necessary.
The wheel tax funds will be available to the city in 2018.