Port Washington Mayor hopes city will pass $20 wheel tax

PORT WASHINGTON -- The Mayor of Port Washington thinks a $20 wheel tax could help the city pay for important repair and maintenance of roads. 

Mayor Tom Mlada said the wheel tax is an idea that's been floated in Port Washington for several years. 

A tax of $20 per vehicle would generate about $200,000 in new revenue per year, the Mayor said. 

Mlada said the city needs to make about $20-million in repairs to its roads over the next decade. Port Washington's current model for funding infrastructure maintenance relies heavily on borrowing. 

A new wheel tax would of course not cover the entirety of the repairs. 

But according to Mlada, the wheel tax would allow the. repairs to occur sooner while also lessening the burden borrowing places on future generations of Port Washington residents. 

"My argument is, let's make a collective investment now, a minimal investment of $20 per vehicle, to make sure we're doing right by our current city residents," Mlada said. "But also so we're not passing along this burden, needlessly, to future city residents," 

He hopes the Common Council will consider the proposal in the coming weeks. It's likely to go before both the Public Works Board and the Finance & License Committee in the coming weeks. 

"We have a good several weeks here where folks can weigh in on the idea," Mlada said. 

At Port Washington's Dockside Deli on Wednesday, opinions on the proposal were mixed. 

"I'm neutral on it," said Ken Grigas. "It wouldn't impact me greatly. I only have one vehicle." 

Linda Weber, a 44-year resident of Port Washington, said neighbors there already pay enough in taxes. 

"It's going to start at $20. But then it might be $30, and after that it might be a $40 wheel tax," Weber said. "We don't need anymore taxes." 

Mlada said if the council approves the wheel tax it could take effect as soon as spring of 2018. 

He said money generated could be used immediately for road repairs in the summer months. 

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