Liberty Twp. officials propose first local vehicle tax to maintain roadways

Liberty Twp. Trustees this week held a first public meeting as they consider approving a $5 annual vehicle tax to help pay for roadway repairs and maintenance in the Butler County community. The trustees are scheduled to vote on the tax during their Dec. 13 meeting. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

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Liberty Twp. Trustees this week held a first public meeting as they consider approving a $5 annual vehicle tax to help pay for roadway repairs and maintenance in the Butler County community. The trustees are scheduled to vote on the tax during their Dec. 13 meeting. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

Vehicle owners in Liberty Twp. could see the first local vehicle tax in the community’s history as township trustees consider approving an annual fee to help them pay for road maintenance.

Trustees held a public comment session Tuesday evening after viewing a presentation from township officials on the proposed $5 a year vehicle tax.

The proposed “additional permissive tax” being considered by Liberty leaders would raise an estimated $186,000 annually to help pay for roadway repairs and maintenance in the fast-growing township, officials said.

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“Road paving costs are going through the roof,” Liberty Twp. Services Director Rick Plummer told the trustees.

“We have a standard, 20-year paving plan and we try to do a percentage of what our township mileage (of roadways) is and as that mileage grows the cost is going to grow to keep up with that 20-year paving,” Plummer said.

There are 153 miles of roadways in the township and in 2012, the cost of re-paving and maintaining township roads was $304,648 compared $714,925 in 2019, the most recent year cited by officials during their presentation.

If trustees do approve the $5 annual vehicle tax at their meeting later this month, it would not be collected until 2023, pending state approval in 2022.

No one from the public spoke concerning the proposed vehicle tax during the meeting’s public comment portion.

If approved by trustees — they are scheduled to vote on the proposed tax during their next meeting on Dec. 13 — none of the $186,000 projected to be raised from collecting the local tax revenue is allowed by state law to go to funding personnel costs in the township’s roads department.

Trustee Christine Matacic said a local $5 vehicle fee is cheaper than what is charged by some other area municipalities.

“There are other communities who have road taxes to specifically make road improvements,” said Matacic, citing Hamilton’s recent passage of a road tax levy, which costs a $100,000 homeowner in that city $136 annually.

Hamilton and other area communities’ road taxes “come to quite a bit more than the $5 fee we are talking here,” she said.

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