The Butler County Commissioners voted unanimously against adopting a vehicle fee for county residents.
The five dollar fee would have been assessed each time a vehicle is registered with the state. The commissioners were looking at adopting the fee because PennDOT is offering a $2 million incentive in matching funds for the county if they did pass the vote.
The fee would also be controlled by the county with Commissioner Leslie Osche saying that the county could have sunset the fee so it would hold at five dollars over the course of several years.
The revenue from the vehicle fee would bring in anywhere from $920,000 to $1 million for the county annually, in addition to the $2 million from the state. Osche said over time, the fee could result in an additional $9 million for the county.
Before the vote, the commissioners used their time to present their cases in favor and against the fee.
Commissioner Kevin Boozel expressed concern that the fee would levy another payment onto the taxpayers of Butler County.
Commissioner Osche expressed support for the fee and its benefits, but cited the negative response from the public on the fee as a reason to vote against it.
Commissioner Kim Geyer did lay out statistics and data during the meeting on a flip chart showing how the current transportation from a 2013 transportation funds are allocated.
Geyer said the state has distributed over $200 million to counties around the commonwealth however, Butler County has received less than three percent of those funds.
State representatives from the county voted against the bill in 2013, which resulted in the Butler not receiving the same amount that was given to other counties who voted in favor of it. Act 89 also included a gas tax that was the main hold-up for the representatives who voted against it. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) said at the time of the vote that the bill would, “take the taxpayers to the cleaners.”
The fee could come up again for conversation the commissioners indicated. PennDOT says the offer expires in “Decemberish.”