Ridgefield City Council eliminates $30 vehicle licensing fee

At the Ridgefield City Council meeting on Thursday, Dec. 2, council members unanimously delivered on their promise to eliminate the $30 Vehicle License Registration Fee charged to Ridgefield residents after voters passed a ballot measure. The measure, Proposition 1, funds necessary pavement preservation with a sales tax instead of the licensing fee. According to the Washington Department of Licensing, it will take until April 1, 2022, for their system to update and remove the fee.

The approved Proposition 1 implements a 0.2% Sales and Use Tax to replace the vehicle license fee to finance pavement preservation and maintenance. The measure passed with 59.28% “yes” votes and the election was certified on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. The retail sales tax rate within Ridgefield city limits will increase from 8.4% to 8.6% on April 1, 2022.

The retail sales tax rate applies to goods and services, such as buying household wares and getting your car’s oil changed, as well as sales tax on new construction. While new development dollars cannot legally be used to maintain existing streets, developers will pay sales tax on construction materials purchased in or delivered to Ridgefield. The 0.2% Sales Tax is estimated to generate $7,567,610 over 10 years. Of this total, revenue from New Construction is estimated at $3,027,044 and revenue from General Retail is estimated at $4,540,566.

Ridgefield’s livability, economic vitality, public safety and emergency response depend on a healthy, viable street system. Funds from the sales and use tax will be used to pay the costs associated with pavement preservation projects identified in the City of Ridgefield Six-Year Capital Improvement Plan. This includes upgrading substandard roads, improving pavement conditions and improving ADA accessibility. Scheduled maintenance extends the life of our streets by 50% and costs less than expensive repairs needed without it. By increasing the funding level for maintenance and preservation, the City of Ridgefield is protecting taxpayers’ dollars.

“By replacing the Vehicle License Fee with a 0.2% increase to the sales and use tax, Ridgefield voters and Council have spread the tax burden for pavement preservation to all who shop in Ridgefield, drive on our streets, and develop here, rather than resting solely on Ridgefield residents,” said Ridgefield Mayor Don Stose.

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Article Source: Vancouver WA Business Journal