City puts brakes on wheel tax

Proposal put off to next week’s budget hearing

Citing concerns of a lack of transparency and insufficient public notice, the Shawano Common Council delayed action Wednesday on a proposed wheel tax until next week’s budget hearing.

The council will meet Nov. 15 for a public hearing on the 2018 budget, and now presumably also to hear public feedback on a proposal to add $10 to all vehicle registrations in the city to help pay for future transportation needs.

Alderman Bob Kurkiewicz pushed for the delay.

“I’m suggesting we give the public more of an opportunity to digest this and for it to be as transparent as possible before the council brings it before them,” he said.

Alderwoman Lisa Hoffman agreed.

“I’ve gotten phone calls that there just wasn’t enough time for people to digest it and be informed about what it is,” she said.

The wheel tax was discussed for the first time at a finance committee meeting on Monday.

The council also delayed a related resolution opposing any change in state law that would require the city to take the proposed wheel tax to a referendum. A bill to that effect has been introduced in the Assembly.

If approved by the council next week, the additional fee would go into effect in March.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation would collect the wheel tax and keep an administrative fee of 17 cents per vehicle application. The rest would be returned to the city.