By Sue Botos
Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, residents will be asked to dig a little deeper into their pockets when renewing vehicle licenses. City Council has approved a municipal motor vehicle tax of $5, which will be used for road maintenance and construction, plus provide additional funding to the streets department.
Finance Director Mike Thomas explained that the tax is authorized by Ohio Revised Code and allows municipalities to assess the fee on motor vehicle registration without taking it to the voters.
“We’ve sort of been back and forth about this for a number of years,” Thomas told West Life. He said that starting as early as 2005, the idea has been discussed and that most of the other cities have the tax in place.
“We looked at revenue projections and felt we needed to enhance the revenue for street repair,” noted Thomas.
He added that with the abolishment of the estate tax, which added up to $2 million a year to the city budget, every alternative for fund generation is being explored. The tax will bolster funds received from property taxes, other state revenue and grants as a way of adding to the street maintenance fund. He said that the transfer of dollars from the general fund would be avoided as much as possible.
Thomas added that the fee is administered when a vehicle is registered, collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and returned to cities similar to the way in which they receive county tax. The fee must be paid each time a vehicle license tag is purchased.
“This will bring in $75,000 to $80,000 a year,” projected Thomas, adding that Rocky River has about 18,000 vehicles now registered, 16,000 of those passenger cars. The fee will apply to all commercial and private motor vehicles, including motorcycles.