City of Delaware residents could soon be paying more for vehicle registration, pending a decision by Delaware City Council.
During its meeting Monday, council read the first reading for an ordinance that would levy an additional $5 registration fee on all motor vehicles registered within the city.
Ohio House Bill 62, which established the 2020-21 state transportation budget, went into effect last July. Included in the bill was the authorization of municipalities to levy the $5 vehicle registration tax. The tax would be in addition to the $5 fee Delaware County already implemented on all drivers in the county in 2019.
Should it be approved, the tax will be levied beginning in 2021, and all monies collected would be dedicated to road improvements. Per the Ohio Revised Code, the monies collected from the tax can only be used for costs associated with public roads, highways, bridges and traffic signs.
City Manager Tom Homan, speaking on the tax Monday, said the additional revenue created by the tax would total approximately $180,000 per year for the maintenance of city roads. He said the city first began lobbying for the tax with the Senate Finance Committee back in 2011 after the local government fund was cut in half, which resulted in a “half a million dollar reduction in our annual allocations.”
Homan again testified in 2017 before the Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee as the chair of a task force formed among representatives in the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to examine local governments’ use of license plate fees as a way to maintain their roads.
The task force’s recommendation was that the permissive authority should be given to counties, cities, and townships to add a $5 registration fee. Counties were first granted that authority in 2o17 stemming from the proposal by Homan and the task force.
Homan said the last time the registration fees were increased by the city was more than 30 years ago, and it’s time for those rates to be adjusted to reflect inflation.
“This doesn’t solve all of them, but it can help,” Homan said of the city’s transportation needs. He added, “The gas tax went up and that helped us, but we still have some gaps.”
A public hearing for the ordinance has been set for the next council meeting, which will be held Monday, Feb. 10, at City Hall. The meeting will have a special start time of 6 p.m. to accommodate council’s joint meeting with the Delaware City Schools Board of Education, which will be held at 7 p.m. at Willis Educational Center.