Voters in Pennington County rejected a wheel tax proposal in a special election held on Tuesday.
The tax would have increased vehicle registration fees between three to five dollars per wheel depending on the weight of the vehicle.
Voters turned down the proposed increase by a vote of 6,022 to 4,086.
Proponents of the wheel tax claim it’s needed to help maintain county roads and bridges. Pennington County Commissioner Nancy Trautman says she respects the will of voters. Trautman voted in favor of an increase in the wheel tax. Now she says given the lack of resources, tough choices are ahead.
“We’re going to have to decide, do we not respond to snow removal as soon as possible. Do we not fix the bridge and have a bypass. Do we not fix the potholes. It does have a direct effect very quickly on the conditions of the road,” says Trautman.
Trautman says in-order to balance the budget the commission may need to increase property taxes in the future. She says Pennington County may also miss out on federal funding that other counties that have a wheel tax qualify for.
Opponents to the wheel tax call it discriminatory. Some argue that it hurts businesses and individuals who have multiple vehicles.
In the end voters agreed and turned down the proposal. The Pennington County Auditor’s office says turnout for the special election was about 15 percent.