County board keeps $10 wheelage tax

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By Reed Anfinson
Swift County Monitor-News


Though it has the authority to put its $10 wheelage tax on cruise control, not having to review its implementation annually, that is not the easy path Swift County Board of Commissioners has decided to follow.

At the March 5 county board meeting, Commissioner Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, said he likes to revisit the wheelage tax each year so that “the public and commissioners are aware that it is there rather than being approved once and forgotten about.”

There might be more controversy for commissioners when they bring it up every year, but Rudningen said he could accept that. “When we make choices, whether it is who we send to the Legislature or how we back certain things, that directly affects what we are able to do out here in the county,” he said.

During its 2012-13 session, the Minnesota Legislature gave counties the authority to put a $10 surcharge on vehicle license renewals to collect additional funds for highways. That amount has since been increased to a maximum of $20 with counties allowed to raise the tax in $1 increments up to the maximum.

Swift County adopted the tax in 2014 and it raises between $109,000 and $115,000 annually. The county’s wheelage tax fund balance as of Feb. 28 was $129,277.

Those revenues have been used for replacing worn out street signs throughout the county and for installing 911 address signs. They also go toward repairing county roads that would otherwise might have to wait for years for state or federal dollars for the fixes to be carried out....


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