Belleville city leaders voted to enact a wheel tax that would charge residents in Belleville $20 a year to register each vehicle with the city. The fee would be reduced by $5 for the elderly and disabled.
Belleville is trying to close an anticipated $775,000 budget gap. Mayor Mark Eckert says the tax could bring in $650,000 next fiscal year and avoid the layoffs of 24 city employees.
So far, about 8 people have chosen to take the mic during the public participation portion of the meeting. Most say they are against the wheel tax. One man, a Belleville resident and business owner, offered to donate $500 to the general fund. He also offered additional personal checks from himself and his daughter - saying he'd rather donate the money than have it taken. The man, who identified himself as Rick Brown, then challenged city council members to do the same.
The city held a public hearing on the idea last week: www.kmov.com/news/local/Metro-East-residents-fighting-proposed-wheel-tax-89483547.html
Following the meeting, the mayor said the city would consider a sunset clause to end the tax after two years: www.kmov.com/news/local/Proposed-Belleville-wheel-tax-to-last-two-years-89726467.html
Back in February (when I first covered the story) the mayor said the decision to institute the tax is close to a done deal: www.kmov.com/community/blogs/reporters-blog/Belleville-Leaders-Vote-to-Bring-Back-the-Wheel-Tax-85143217.html
The stickers go on sale June 1st. Enforcement begins September 1st. The fine for not paying the wheel tax is $100.