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Van Buren Wheel Tax Heading to Public Vote Feb. 7

A public petition has created a special election in Van Buren County over a proposed wheel tax.

County Mayor Greg Wilson says the tax would help pay for new correctional positions at the new county jail.

“With the new positions being hired for correctional officers and the expense of that, we were looking at about $200,000 for that additional expense,” Wilson says, “and an additional $40,000 that we were giving to 911 for contributions of the 911 operations to the county.”

Wilson says one option the county considered before settling on the wheel tax was potentially raising property taxes.

“Instead of raising property taxes to cover those [positions], one of the things we looked at – we looked at several things – was the wheel tax,” Wilson says. “It would be fair for everybody in the county, not just the property owners, to pay. 50 to 60 percent of people in the county own property, therefore this way, everybody would pay for the additional cost of that.”

Wilson says the commission first approved the $10 wheel tax in August before amending and approving it on second and final reading in September. The amendment created a cap for the tax not to exceed $30. Tax dollars would not go towards the new jail facility and would only go towards the correctional positions and county 911 services.

The public election will take place Feb. 7 for all Van Buren County residents.

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