EAST LIVERPOOL - City residents who purchase license plates after July 1, 2013 will see an additional $5 charge on their total, after City Council finalized legislation enacting the fee during a special meeting Tuesday morning.
With member Scott Barrett absent due to work responsibilities, council voted unanimously for the final reading of the ordinance, which replaces a similar ordinance enacted last year for the same purpose which was recently found to be flawed.
The earlier ordinance had never gone into effect after the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles determined it stated the wrong code and that council had approved it as an emergency measure, which is prohibited.
In voting for the measure, Councilman Sherrie Curtis said the additional fee is a "fair assessment" since those paying it are those obviously using city streets.
The estimated $48,000 to $49,000 the additional fee will generate is earmarked specifically for the street department permissive fund, meaning it can only be used for street-related purchases, such as patching materials and small equipment.
"It wouldn't be enough (revenue) to do a major paving project," Curtis pointed out, saying some people have linked it with a proposed 5-mill street levy council has placed on the November ballot.
That levy, however, will generate $425,300 annually over its five-year period, which will enable the city to do some major street paving projects, particularly in the neighborhoods, which are not eligible for most state and federal funding sources.
Curtis said after the meeting there is some concern that re-doing the additional $5 license fee at this time will jeopardize passage of the street levy, but she emphasized, "It's totally different money."
Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell said in a prepared statement that revenue from the 5-mill levy are kept in a separate fund that, by law, must be used only on capital improvements, that is, something that will last for five years.
He emphasized that the license plate fee revenue may be used to patch a street, but the street levy revenue can only be used to resurface a street, not patch one.
"Both funds serve specific needs and are essential if we are to see long-lasting improvements to our roadways," Estell said.
During a finance committee meeting following Tuesday's session, members reviewed a certificate of estimated property tax revenue from county Auditor Nancy Milliken regarding the proposed 5-mill levy.
According to the auditor's calculations, the $425,300 generated by the levy was based upon the city's valuation of $88,583,160 and that passage will mean an additional $61.25 per year to the owner of a $40,000 home.
The owner of a $60,000 home would pay an additional $91.88, and the owner of a $100,000 home, an additional $153.13.
Also during the finance committee meeting, members voted to forward to council for its July 2 meeting an ordinance creating a self-insurance fund and appropriating $200,000 to the fund, which is the amount paid into insurance premiums by city employees.