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Lane County Voters To Decide Fate Of Vehicle Registration Fee

Angela Kellner

The Lane County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to put the proposed vehicle registration fee on the May ballot.

Lane County voters will decide in May if they want to pay a vehicle registration fee to fund road and bridge maintenance in the county. If passed, residents would pay $35 per vehicle per year. Motorcycles would cost $20 annually. At a public hearing and meeting Tuesday, Kats Henry of Noti spoke against the fee.

Henry "We have to juggle whether or not we get to eat, or pay this, or if we get to even have a place to go in the car because you guys are nickel and diming us to death."

Commission Chair Jay Bozievich, who is also an engineer, agrees the fee will be a hardship on those with low incomes or who own multiple vehicles.

Bozievich: "So this is actually asking for a dollar today so that we don't have to come back in five years and ask you for $10 or $12. Which is going to add largely to the number of people that won't be able to afford that tax at that time."

Commissioner Bozievich says the county has long relied on payments in lieu of timber revenue from the federal government, but those payments are ending. The fee will be collected by the state with 40-percent being distributed to the largest cities in Lane County, including Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove, Florence, Junction City, Creswell, Veneta and Oakridge. Lane County will get the remaining 60-percent which can only be spent on maintaining roads, bridges, signs and culverts. Commissioners say there will be an audit to ensure the money is being spent properly. The election is May 19, 2015.

Audio of the public hearing and meeting of the Lane County Board of Commissioners regarding the vehicle registration fee, Feb. 10, 2015.