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Appleton Alderman proposes wheel tax

The proposal would shift the burden of paying for road improvements from homeowners to registered vehicle owners

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) - Appleton city leaders are considering a new tax proposal. The proposal would shift the burden of paying for road improvements from homeowners to registered vehicle owners.

It's not uncommon to drive around Appleton and find signs that read "no special assessments" with a dollar amount attached to them.

"It's basically another tax that we have to pay on top of the property tax that we pay," Cory Londre, an Appleton homeowner says.

The special assessment pays for road construction projects in front of homes. Londre says it's not fair.

"It's something I really can't afford."

Cory has owned his home for more than 10 years and says the roads are used by everyone.

"Once they built the new bridge down there it's more and more vehicles coming through here, the road has be beat up because of the big trucks coming through here."

"It's used by everyone, everyone uses the roads." City Alderman Joe Martin says.

Alderman Martin says he heard from a lot of property owners about how expensive and unfair the assessment tax is, and went looking for other options. He is now ready to ask the council to consider a wheel tax instead of more property taxes.

"Assessments can hurt financially," he says.

There are more than 85,000 vehicles registered in Appleton.  If Alderman Martin gets his way, owners will pay $20 more when they register their vehicles.

"Those living in rented homes, apartments, this catches everyone with a $20 wheel tax," Martin says.

The money generated from the wheel tax is expected to bring in more than $1.7 million.  Right now, city spends about $1.4 million now on road repairs. Other residents feel like the fee is fair.

"I think Alderman Martin got a really good idea," Gary McGoey says. "I think it's unfair as a person whose been through this a number of years ago to have to pay those thousands of dollars for a road that everyone in the city can use."

"That's the way they should do it," Aaron Jarchow says.

Alderman martin say the money can also be used to take care of trails and pathways throughout the city. He will present his proposal to the city council on Wednesday.  If it makes it through various committees, it could be approved later this month.

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