Wheel tax to roll out before council

Separate resolution opposes any state effort to force a referendum

City officials will consider tacking on an additional $10 fee for vehicle registrations when the Shawano Common Council meets Wednesday.

The so-called wheel tax would be used to help pay for “transportation related purposes,” according to an ordinance recommended by the finance committee on Monday.

If approved by the council, it would go into effect in March.

In a related matter, the council will also consider a resolution voicing opposition to any change in state law that would require the city to take the proposed wheel tax to a referendum.

Assembly Bill 361 was introduced in June and has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. It would require a referendum before local government could enact a wheel tax.

The council’s resolution calls the bill “an outrageous example of the state interfering with a purely local policy decision to adequately fund maintenance of municipal streets and public ways.”

Under current law, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation would collect the wheel tax and keep an administrative fee of 17 cents per vehicle application. The rest would get sent back to the city.

According to the DOT, 19 communities already have a wheel tax, including Tigerton, where the fee is $10, and Gillett, where the fee is $20.

Six counties also charge a wheel tax.

The Common Council meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St.