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County fee per license tab renewal will increase in 2018

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the county wheelage tax of $10 on vehicle license tab renewals will increase to $20 per license tab.

State law allowed for Otter Tail County and other counties in Minnesota to enact fees of $10 per license tab for calendar years 2016 and 2017 and to raise the fee to $20 in 2018.

The $20 per vehicle wheelage tax in Otter Tail County in 2018 is expected to add close to $1.2 million for roadway maintenance. In addition, proceeds to Otter Tail County from a one-half cent sales tax will yield close to $3.8 million annually for roadway maintenance.

County Highway Engineer Rick West reports a 2018 preliminary roadway budget of $37.6 million.

Toward this end, $18 million comes from the state of Minnesota through grants and $1.3 million from the federal government through grants.

The license tab fees, half cent sales tax dollars, state grants and federal funding will augment 2018 roadway funding coming from county taxpayers through next year's levy. This will be finalized in December by the five-person Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.

"All of the aforementioned revenue will go directly to our county for road and bridge construction and repair in 2018," says County Engineer Rick West.

Otter Tail County is larger in size than the state of Rhode Island and paved roads total 1,062 miles.

"The backbone of the highway system in Otter Tail County requires lots of financial investment," West said. "County residents who have attended public meetings in previous months have expressed their desire for their roadways to be maintained at the highest level,"