"Wheel tax" passes in Belleville - KMOV.com

"Wheel tax" passes in Belleville

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.

Diana Zoga is a general assignment reporter at News4.  You can reach her by email dzoga@kmov.com or follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DIANAZOGA

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