Vehicle Registration tax law set to be drafted

Full board approval sought July 1

— The public will have its chance to weigh in on a proposed local law once it is drafted and accepted that would add a fee to Essex County vehicle registrations.

The proposal, which would be Local Law No. 3 of 2013, would call for a fee of $5 per year to register private vehicles and $10 per year to register commercial vehicles in Essex County.

Members of the Essex County Ways and Means Committee debated whether the law should be drafted during its June 24 meeting, which was eventually moved forward by a 12-4 vote.

Voting against the drafting of the law were Gerald Morrow (Chesterfield), Sharon Boisen (Essex), Michael Marnell (Schroon) and Dan Connell (Keene). Supervisors Randy Douglas (Jay/board chairman) and Ed Hatch (Willsboro) were excused.

“I know where this is coming from, to help maintain the roads,” Morrow said. “There are other vehicles that use these roads and the only people that will be affected by it are Essex County residents. It’s a fee but it is still a tax. We should get it some other way.”

“Both times, the negativity from my community was large, and I am going to vote against it again because of that,” Connell said. “When we get ready to balance the budget, we always go to highway and take out of their funds. We have a lot of small businesses that may have several vehicles. None of us want to put any of these businesses out of business.”

“Whenever you have an increase in registration fees or operating costs for a business, someone is going to absorb that,” Marnell said. “Everyone is going to raise their prices a little bit and everyone is going to be affected by it.”

Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley asked if this was something that other counties in the state were charging.

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