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Oshkosh Common Council approves wheel tax

Council member Paul Esslinger is the only alderman who voted against the wheel tax.

Oshkosh Common Council approves wheel tax

Source: City of Oshkosh

February 29, 2024 11:16 AM CDT
By: Lisa Hale

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OSHKOSH, WI – (WISS, WGBW) – Starting July 1, Oshkosh residents will have to fork out $35 a year for each vehicle they own. The Oshkosh Common Council voted 6 to 1 in favor of adding the vehicle registration fee and increasing the cost of utilities to fund road and sidewalk reconstruction projects. The ordinance will raise $3.75 million a year.

Council member Michael Ford said Oshkosh currently collects more in special assessments than any other city in Wisconsin. “We’re an extreme outlier,” said Ford. “Our current policy isn’t working and we need to fix it.” While the vehicle registration fee is getting the most attention, the utility increases will cover more of the costs associated with the street and sidewalk repairs.

Council member Paul Esslinger is the only alderman who voted against the wheel tax. He feels the ordinance is not fair for those who have already paid special assessments or own multiple vehicles. He recommended the council find another revenue stream such as a gas tax.

“The state uses a gas tax to fund road projects for roads they own,” said Esslinger. “We should be able to implement our own, or the state should do it for us. If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for us.”

Vehicle owners in Oshkosh will pay the additional $35 as a part of their annual registration fee for vehicles. Water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer utilities will also increase between 0.25% and 0.05%. 

The impact on a $100 monthly utility bill will average between $0.25 to $0.50 per month.

By approving this ordinance the city will eliminate all pavement-related special assessments for road and sidewalk reconstruction. New developments and new utility construction will continue to be special assessed.

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