Faribault Co. may add tax

BLUE EARTH – Faribault County commissioners presented a motion Tuesday to enact the wheelage tax, but it died for lack of a second.

However, it could come up again before an Aug. 1 deadline.

The $10 charge per registered vehicle in the county would affect 16,000 vehicles. Proceeds would go to road construction in the county.

The state must be notified by Aug. 1 if the county is going to collect the tax in 2014, said John McDonald, county engineer.

Commissioners could still pass the tax at their July 23 meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. on the fairgrounds during the Faribault County Fair.

“We haven’t done our homework and we need to inform the public in Faribault County,” said Commissioner Tom Warmka.

“I’m very leery of starting another tax in the county,” said Commissioner Tom Loveall.

Commissioner John Roper, who made the motion, explained why he believes the county needs to consider the tax.

“All the roads are going to pot faster than we can fix,” he said. “People who use the roads can see if you use the roads, you pay for it. We need to act now.”

But the tax doesn’t cover everyone on the road, pointed out Commissioner Bill Groskreutz.

“We’re looking at a wheelage tax, but it doesn’t cover all vehicles,” he said, adding food comes in on trucks that wouldn’t pay the tax.

McDonald read a list of vehicles that would pay, and a list of those that would be exempt, such as motorcycles, motorized bicycles, electric-assisted bicycles and trailers.

Turning to another topic, McDonald and Michele Stindtman, program administrator of Faribault County Soil & Water, reported a problem Ulland Bros is having finding a place to put 32,000 yards of dirt it is removing from the Highway 169 construction. The site the company had picked is in a flood plain, so it can’t be used.

Stindtman was contacted Monday about the company requesting permission to dump the dirt on the land between Walmart and the state highway garage on the fairgrounds road, beginning later this month.

County Attorney Troy Timmerman said the process might require a conditional use permit and a public hearing.

Commissioners wanted to know if there is enough time before the construction starts to schedule the public hearing.

Stindtman said there is a required 10-day waiting period that begins the day of publication, so it would be the middle of the month before a public hearing could be scheduled. Furthermore, Ulland Bros. needs to file paperwork to start the process.