Newton Falls considers motor vehicle tax

$5 fee would raise $20K for village

NEWTON FALLS — Village officials are considering levying an annual municipal motor vehicle license plate fee to generate around $20,000 for road repairs.

The proposed ordinance would tax motorists $5 per motor vehicle on each vehicle registration. Village Manager David Lynch said recently the revenue generated by the additional fee would be directed to Newton Falls alone and used solely for road repairs in the village.

Fiscal Officer Anna Musson said while the village is financially stable and keeping track of any COVID-19-related spending, only $51,000 remains available for road work this year.

Several residents who phoned into the remote access meeting said they did not believe the tax was the right answer.

Second Ward Councilman John Baryak also questioned the move.

“People are not working right now, and this would only generate around $21,000. How much paving can we do with that?” Baryak said. “We are not going to nickel and dime people for $5. This is not going to happen because people are hurting.”

Musson, who said she supports the motor vehicle tax, said past attempts by the village to pass road levies on the ballot have been unsuccessful.

“The street levies have been defeated. The village has tried but can’t get the voter support. We do not have the needed revenue to pave our roads. We have $51,000, which is not much,” Musson said, noting that an additional $18,000 to $20,000 would help.

Musson said state legislators have given municipalities the option of generating monies for roads this way.

Third Ward Councilman Lyle Waddell said before the village takes any action, officials need to check with Trumbull County commissioners on whether they are planning to impose license plate tax. County commissioners have not discussed recently the possibility of adding a countywide motor vehicle tax.

Newton Falls Council has tabled the matter to allow time for discussions with county commissioners.

Musson said for now, with only $51,000 available in the road fund, all street paving is postponed.

During last week’s council meeting, a motion from Baryak to put a moratorium on awarding new contracts and all spending unless mandated by law failed without a second by other council members.


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