Councilwoman Carol Frey discussed the upcoming legislation regarding the increase of the permissive motor vehicle license tax during the council meeting. She stated she received several emails from Justin Greer, who is running for 1st Ward. Greer claims there is confusion regarding this piece of legislation. “I’m going to state the facts one more time,” Frey said.
If passed, this tax increase would be imposed on vehicle registrations in the city, with the exception of watercraft, and is part of the gas tax legislation that was passed and signed by Gov. DeWine in July of this year. The current cost in Barberton is $25 and would be raised to $30. The funds raised by the increase would assist paying for the paving of permissive streets, which are essentially the main thoroughfares.
In this case, the city would receive an additional $90,000 per year from this increase and it can only be used for the permissive streets. These funds are used for street markings, crack sealing, traffic signalization, planning, engineering and also to pay the 20% of ODOT projects. When the city is awarded with a grant from ODOT, they pay for 80% of the project and the city is responsible for the remaining 20%.
She gave the Wooster Road N. project from East Avenue to the State Street bridge as an example, stating that the entire project is going to cost the city approximately $1.8 million over the next few years. That is only 20% of the overall cost, which is over $9 million.
“You can see the use of the permissive funds helps very much with getting our roads done.” She also stated that it’s been said that these funds can be used to pay down the debts from other projects, such as the Ninth Street project, and she said that is not true and claims it has been funded entirely by Issue 8 money, an additional income tax that was added to be used for the residential streets. “It’s simply a $5 charge, which I would think that any community within the state of Ohio that has the option is going to do it.”
Service Director Mike Vinay said, “This is a very important piece of legislation and is important for our future so please consider it.” Mayor William Judge also brought up misleading statements on social media including Greer responding to a resident who asked what a permissive street was and he said, “It’s just a fancy term.”
As you have read above, that is not true. Judge said, “Money generated for permissive streets has to be used on permissive streets.” He also said that investing in the city’s infrastructure will bring more people and businesses to the city and asked, “Who wants to invest in a city that doesn’t invest in itself?”