The Wausau City Council last week finalized wording on a Nov. 8 binding referendum asking voters to weigh in on a proposed $20 wheel tax.
If Wausau voters approve the fee hike, the entire projected $650,000 collected each year would pay for road maintenance projects. An earlier plan to use $50,000 of that money to help fund public transportation was rejected.
The Marathon County board last week approved its own $25 per vehicle wheel tax to raise an estimated $3 million for road maintenance. The county’s wheel tax takes effect next year, and a Wausau wheel tax, if approved, would take effect after the county’s tax expires.
Critics say they doubt Marathon County will allow the fee increase to expire in 2017, setting the stage for a double whammy for Wausau residents. Janet Everson, 62, of Wausau is one of several people to sound off to City Pages about the proposed fee increases. “If you think for a minute Marathon County isn’t going to renew that tax next year, you’re kidding yourself,” Everson says. “The need for road repair doesn’t just go away.”