When the County Commissioner began the discussion of the implementation of a Wheel Tax in Marshall County a few months ago there was some talk about bring the Amish into the fold with a tax on buggies. Recently the commissioners were approached by an individual about licensing buggies to help fund more road maintenance.
During Monday’s commissioner meeting Laurie Baker from the Highway Department and commissioner Deb Griewank presented information they have received from a couple of counties who have already implemented a buggy tax.
The pair went to Elkhart County last week and learned that they charge $50 per buggy and $17 for a trailer. They have an agreement with Interra Credit for collection of the fees and they also issue the plates or stickers and are paid $1 per transaction. Elkhart County does not collect a late fee. May’s collection was approximately $5,000.
Davies County charges $60 per buggy but nothing for trailers. They have the Auditor’s Office collect the fee and do have a late fee of $10 provision.
Baker said, “In both cased the sums collected are receipted into the County Highway fund MVH.”
In LaGrange they collect $50 per buggy and have collected over $473,000 in buggy tax. In their case, the trustee sells the plates or stickers and the trustee is paid $3 per transaction.
The question from Baker was “Whats your wishes going forward, if we pursue.”
Griewank though using Lake City Bank in Plymouth, Argos and Bremen would be a good idea since the Amish population is primarily on the east side of the county. She indicated that no contact had been made to check and see if Lake City Bank would be agreeable to assist with the collection.
The pair noted that the license plates for the buggy tax are made by inmates in the Department of Corrections for $3.
The Marshall County Commissioners decided to look at creating an ordinance that will require a public hearing. Griewank and Baker will work with the County Attorney to create the ordinance.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said, “I know it’s been talked about for a number of years and I just think it’s time we start doing this. They use the roads just like everyone else does. We pay and they should too.”
The Marshall County Commissioners hope to implement the buggy tax for 2016.