Appleton considers wheel tax to fund road construction - WBAY

Appleton considers wheel tax to fund road construction

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Appleton -

Ric Wolfgram owes almost $10,000 in special assessment taxes for the construction outside his John Street home.

"We have a house payment to pay and 2 kids to raise. I mean, it's not really gonna be that easy," Wolfgram says.

For nearly 100 years, Appleton has implemented a special assessment tax on property owners for road construction. Only houses lining the street under construction have to pay.

Under Appleton's current policy, Wolfgram and his neighbors have the option of paying the assessment over 5 years at 6% interest or pay it all upfront.

"Nobody around here just has 5, 6 thousand dollars laying around at any time," Wolfgram says.

Homeowners like wolfgram have posted signs with the exact amount they've had to pay in special assessment taxes on John Street to show that they're looking for a change.

That tax has been under scrutiny for many years, and now a new proposal is in the works.

"For six years I've been hearing everyone has a reason that it's devastating to them," City Council member Joe Martin said.

Alderman Martin is proposing a wheel tax, adding a $20 fee on registered vehicles in Appleton.

"This is one shot. It covers everyone in the city if you have a vehicle," Martin said.

Martin added that the wheel tax would include everyone, including non-profit businesses. Road work would be funded by this fee, replacing special assessment taxes.

"You can't just stop that and expect us to keep the same pace in terms of rebuilding our streets," Mayor Tim Hanna said. "It's the context of, there's a number of choices, pick your poison."

The city council will take up the wheel tax proposal Wednesday night.

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