Clark County council shoots down return of Wheel Tax - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Clark County council shoots down return of Wheel Tax

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Les Young Les Young
Delano Martin Delano Martin
Ed Myer Ed Myer
Jack Coffman Jack Coffman
Clark County, IN Council Clark County, IN Council
Jeffersonville, IN -

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – By a 6-to-1 vote, the Clark County Council shot down a tax which that would hit Clark County residents every time they registered their car.

Passion of Clark County residents erupted in front of the seven member council during the June 29 meeting as people expressed their opinion for or against a Wheel Tax. The last time the county collected money from a Wheel Tax, which is used to pay for road projects, including repairs and construction, was in 2007.

"If you need to do the things necessary for infrastructure, go take it from other lesser important things.....leave my taxes alone," one concerned citizen said.

During the almost two-hour special meeting, the members of the council heard from both sides. Les Young, a County Commissioner, told the crowd he supports a Wheel Tax.

"I support the tax and I'll be right out front and tell you that and the reason I support the tax," said Young, who was interrupted by Delano Martin, a citizen who is against the Wheel Tax.

When Martin told Young he did not want to listen to him, Young told him to "go out of the room." Martin did walk out during the speech, saying he was not going to go back into the room until Young finished.

"We're taxed to death," Martin said. "I don't want to hear that man that is for taxes. I don't want to listen to him."

Meanwhile, Clark County Commissioners President Ed Myer tried to push the Wheel Tax forward.

"It is our obligation to keep up our infrastructure of Clark County," said Myer. "This is one way we can keep up the infrastructure to keep going with what we have."

The tax revenue did not cover the entire cost of road projects, but Myer said it helped fill the gaps left by state funding. But the bigger issue said Jack Coffman, the Clark County Council president, is the county's fiscal responsibility. Coffman said departments overspent in the past two years and revenue fell short of expectations.

"This is going to be a different type of budget," said Coffman. "We're going to have to really watch our spending. It's as simple as that."

In the end, the council voted against the Wheel Tax. Coffman said the county has to tighten its spending and taxing people with a Wheel Tax is not the way to make that better - at this point. It was a vote Young said he was disappointed with.

"I'm disappointed for the citizen of Clark County. Well, a ‘No' is a ‘No.' We'll do our best to maintain the roads and the infrastructure. We only have so much money in the pool. We'll have to do the best with what we have," said Young.

Coffman said starting July 1, departments have to present their budgets to the council for review. A budget must be approved by the end of September.

According to Coffman, the next time a Wheel Tax could come up for discussion is next year.

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