Proposed Van Buren County tax to offset jail costs

By | September 7, 2018 6:50 am

Van Buren County Mayor Wilson signs letter of intent with Upper Cumberland Waste and Fuel. UCWF will be breaking ground in March 2019.

By Hansel Moore

During the last Van Buren County commissioners’ meeting, a proposal about a wheel tax was voted on and passed 7-3.

The proposal is that a wheel tax of $10 will be collected when a Van Buren resident obtains a license plate for a vehicle. The funds raised by this taxation will assist in covering the cost of additional staffing required for the new jail.

“The cost of the building is already covered,” explained County Mayor Greg Wilson. “But there is about $200,000 additional expenditures to put staff in the jail. This will help offset the cost.”

Neighboring counties have passed the wheel tax to raise funds. “Ten dollars in the lowest in the area,” said Wilson. “White County is like $45, and Warren County is $30. We are looking at $10. The average household in Van Buren has two vehicles, so the cost will be $20 per year. The expected financial benefit to the county is estimated to be $65,000 per year.

A $7 utility tax for solid waste is also in the works.

“In the long run, people will be saving money,” said Wilson. “Now it cost 11 cents a pound at the convenience centers, it will be free,” explained Wilson.

In other words there will be no charges for personal waste at the convenience center. The average household spends $20 per month whether they are taking it to a convenience center or having it picked up. That adds up to $240 per year, so when compared to $84 dollars ($7/month), the average household will have a saving of $156 per year. The utility tax is estimated to generate approximately $150,000 dollars per year.

If a person is contracted with one of the commercial waste haulers, the individual will benefit from the proposal, as the county will decrease their cost by two thirds.

“Only if they agree to pass on the savings to the customers,” said Wilson.

Getting rid of the household garbage will be easier for Van Buren residents. Convenience centers are planned for the Piney and Cummingsville areas, with a third destination to be determined.

Proposal was the first step in the process of implementing the tax.   The issue will be discussed and voted on at the next two commissioners’ meetings scheduled for Sept. 18 as well as the October meeting.

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