Delay possible for higher vehicle-registration fees in Groveport

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Groveport municipal offices

An ordinance to increase fees Groveport residents pay for motor vehicle registrations is expected to receive its third and final reading Feb. 8, but some on Groveport City Council believe now – with family finances affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – is not the time to seek higher taxes. 

Members may decide to table the measure or “put it off until Jan. 1,” Councilman Scott Lockett said Jan. 26. 

“It’s been a tough time for many people,” he said. “It’s not that it’s that much money, but when they go to pay the license fee, then they’re going to add another $5. It just sounds like a money grab.” 

Councilman Sean Cleary said during the Jan. 25 meeting the additional $5 fee wasn’t a good idea at this time.

The state gave counties, municipalities and townships authorization in March 2018 to impose the additional $5 fee on permissive motor-vehicle taxes, with the goal of increasing the amount of money available for road repairs. 

Permissive-tax revenue is to be used by the counties and taxing districts for "planning, constructing, improving, maintaining and repairing public roads, highways, streets, and for maintaining and repair of bridges and viaducts," according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website, bmv.ohio.gov. 

The state permits up to 11 such increases of $5 each, but only six may be in effect at any one time in any single taxing district, which is either a municipality (incorporated village or city) or township. 

Estimates provided by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission indicate that Groveport could collect an additional $59,000 from the fee, City Administrator B.J. King told council. 

Finance Director Jason Carr told council that the additional funds would be used to pave streets and make improvements to arterial roads, such as Main Street. 

If approved Feb. 8, the city, by law, could not collect the additional tax until after July 1, 2021. 

“We’re doing OK financially,” Lockett said. “Our revenues are down with COVID-19, but we’ll get through it. We’re not hurting. At this point in time, I just don’t think residents would appreciate paying more.”

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