Marshfield council nixes wheel tax
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield Common Council nixed consideration of a wheel tax brought forward by Alderman Tom Buttke, during their final August meeting.
“Gordy Earll first brought the idea up and it was discussed by the Board of Public Works in December 2017,” said City Administrator Steve Barg. “At that time, the board took it under advisement and said, ‘Interesting idea, we can think about it a little more.’
“At that time, there was discussion in Madison about a referendum requirement and that kind of made people pause a little bit, too. Thinking, do we want to go back to a referendum after we just had a failed referendum on the increase in taxes to pay for road improvements.
“Then, it was brought up again and ended up on the Finance, Budget, & Personnel Committee agenda in May of this year, and didn’t go very far either.”
Buttke asked to have the wheel tax placed on the common council agenda, to address the large road needs in the city. His proposal added a $25 per vehicle tax on vehicles owned in the city. The tax would be added to the owner’s registration fee, with the state keeping 17 cents and the remainder coming to the city for road improvements – designated for residential roads and not the main streets.
Alderman Tom Witzel and others spoke out against the wheel tax.
“To me, this is just another way to say, ‘we didn’t want it, but we are going to give it to you anyway,’” Witzel said. “We are not going to give it to you the same way, we are going to give it to you a different way and that really concerns me.”
Approximately two dozen counties and cities have instituted a wheel tax in the state. The state does not require a referendum to enact this type of tax.
The wheel tax proposal generated no action with the council.