Sturgeon Bay will draft a wheel tax ordinance after a unanimous vote by the common council

Sturgeon Bay - Sturgeon Bay is trying to figure out the best way to pay for road improvement projects, they've considered raising property taxes, debt, special assessments but decided a vehicle registration fee increase was the best option.

The common council voted unanimously in favor of having City Administrator Josh VanLieshout draft an ordinance for the wheel tax.

The average road has a lifespan of 30 years, however city engineers found that streets in Sturgeon Bay are getting as old as 62 years old before being replaced.

While the main streets in the city are in pretty good conditions, many of the sidewalks have cracks, potholes and evidence of patchwork.

In order to resolve this problem the city says they need $490,000, they have raise money for the roads or they will continue to get worse.

"If we kept our current level of funding we would never expect it to get any better," said VanLieshout. "The common council decided on a vehicle registration fee increase because it is a lower impact to raise revenues."

Sturgeon Bay is unique in that they don't have special assessments where they charge property and business owners for street repairs in front of their property.

VanLieshout said they will do assessments only if the property owner gets something new like a sidewalk as an example.

"The impact to the property owners is what has the significant concern," said VanLieshout. "It's hard to raise property taxes and the common council did not like using debt."

At this time Sturgeon Bay does not know what the fee increase would be, they are just beginning the process of putting together an ordinance.

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