“I think it’s a great ordinance,” Counciman Kevin Vissing said. “I’ve always supported the airport. I think that it’s an economic tool that’s going to draw large businesses to the area.”
WHEEL TAX DEAD ... FOR NOW
Vissing, who had expressed a desire for the council to enact a wheel tax and vehicle excise tax, said that in light of changes to pending legislation at the statehouse, he would no longer pursue the issue.
Vissing had originally brought forth the idea of enacting the taxes in response to provisions included in a draft version of the state budget that would freeze highway dollars at 2012 levels for counties that did not enact such a tax. The provisions were later removed, and additional highway dollars were built into the final budget.
“That kind of made it a moot point,” Vissing said.
Vissing said that he would still like to see the taxes enacted to help the county with shortages of funds in the county general fund’s budget. By enacting the tax and lowering the tax rate on the cumulative bridge fund — which currently stands at 5 cents — there would be more money in the county general fund. Vissing said it would be an alternative to tax rates mandated by courts as a result of county department lawsuits, such as the one currently being mulled by Sheriff Danny Rodden to cover a shortfall in jail payroll funds.
“Instead of getting mandated or sued for it, we would get it from the wheel tax, which is a fairer tax,” Vissing said.
Khuri said she opposes the wheel tax, and fellow Republican Councilmen Danny Yost and Steve Doherty have indicated their opposition to enacting the tax at a previous meeting.
“Once the wheel tax is established, it would never be removed. That’s my opinion,” Khuri said.
Lenfert said his opposition to the tax is a reflection of what he’s heard from his constituents.
“At some point, you have to be a representative of your constituents’ wishes, and there was no question that my constituents [are] adamantly against the wheel tax,” Lenfert said.