Essex County Board of Supervisors
Photo by Keith Lobdell.
continued “If we did raise $200,000 or $300,000 out of this and then reduce the levy, we are not coming out ahead on this,” Bartley said. “If 98 percent of the counties are charging this and we are not, then maybe we are just being foolish.”
“I do not know the full numbers but all of our neighboring counties are doing this,” County Manager Dan Palmer said.
“Just because they charge a fee doesn’t mean we have to,” Morrow replied. “We represent Essex County.”
Other supervisors said they felt the fee would be a way to get some funding through other means than property tax.
“The registration fee to me makes sense because it is money coming in that is off the property tax that goes specifically to highway use,” Moriah Supervisor and Finance Chair Tom Scozzafava said. “I think that this is a step in the right direction. If we ever want to reduce the tax levy, these are the steps that we are going to have to take to get this done. In my mind, it makes a heck of a lot more sense to support your infrastructure this way, just as you do with water and sewer.”
“I would probably never support a 26 percent increase in sales tax,” Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said. “This may not be the greatest alternative but this is an alternative that we have to look at.”
“I think that this is a way to generate more revenue, I do not think that this is something we are doing to replace lost revenue,” Palmer said. “We have about 31,000 registrations per year for both personal and commercial vehicles, which would raise around $150,000 in revenue each year.”
Once the proposed local law is drafted, the board of supervisors would have to set a date for a public hearing on the issue. The proposal to move forward also needs full board approval, with the vote to take place at the July 1 regular meeting.