Monday, July 14, 2014

Herald-Bulletin Argues Wheel Tax Preferable to Potholes in Madison County

From the Anderson Herald-Bulletin:

Two things Madison County residents dislike:

• Paying taxes
• Driving on rough, pot-hole strewn roads

Unfortunately, we have to put up with one or the other.

Given the much greater expense of having to replace a tire or an axel, coughing up $25 for the county’s wheel tax is well worth the assurance of better roads.

The wheel tax, which had been discontinued a couple of years before being brought back when some new members of local government councils were elected, generated an estimated $3 million for road and street repairs this year. The money is divided among local government units.

Madison County officials say they will receive about $1.2 million this year from the wheel tax fund, as well as $750,000 from state coffers. The county plans to use $700,000 to pay an independent contractor to pave more than 12 miles of roads. The county highway department will also apply new chip and seal to about 100 miles of road.

The City of Anderson has budgeted for $1.1 million in wheel tax revenues and $150,000 from the state. With that money, the city plans to use a contractor to repave nine streets. Eight more streets will be milled and repaved, and 21 others will get a new coat of asphalt. City crews are set to pave more than three miles of streets in 2014.

The beauty of the wheel tax is that it’s earmarked for buying materials and doing the work. None of it can be used to pay government employee salaries; none can be diverted to other purposes.

Particularly after the harsh winter we’ve experienced — and the gaping potholes it begat — these road and street repaving and repair projects are sorely needed.

When it comes to picking our poison between taxes and road repair, the former is the less bitter pill to swallow.