Madison Township to delay enacting motor vehicle tax

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer
Results of meetings by a Madison Township-driven Citizens Action Committee show while there is support for a $5 permissive motor vehicle tax, now might not be the right time to institute the measure.

“The majority of the committee members were in favor of the tax,” said Citizens Action Committee Chairman Katherine Chipps. “One issue presented is that many in our community are hurting right now with layoffs and the coronavirus.”

Madison Township Trustee Michele Reynolds said, while it is without question that township roads need improvement, it is important to acknowledge the economic impact COVID-19 has on the community.

When asked by Reynolds what options are available to the township in enacting the tax, Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst said the deadline for the 2020-21 collection period is July 1.

“If the trustees make a decision after the June meeting, it would go on the 2021-22 collection year,” said Brobst.

Public Works Superintendent Dave Watkins said the additional $5 motor vehicle tax would bring in approximately $80,000 annually. The tax is assessed when new license plates are purchased or renewed.

The township currently collects a gas tax. However, Watkins was unsure of collections for this year because of the impact of the coronavirus on the driving public.

Brobst said collections could easily be 25 percent to 35 percent less.

“There could be a higher impact the longer we stay at home,” said Brobst.

While Reynolds admitted the economic impact of COVID-19 on the community and township financing is unknown and felt action on the tax needs to be taken for the 2020-21 collection period, she thinks the trustees need to be sensitive to the situation and not take action in April. Trustee Ed Dildine agreed to postponing action until May.

Trustee Chairman John Pritchard added, “I completely agree with holding off as late as possible. Every time I listen to the governor’s press conferences, they come up with something new. I think we should hold off as late as we can and see how the pandemic impacts the township.”

The trustees unanimously approved holding off action on the proposed permissive motor vehicle tax until next month.
Other Madison Township news
•Fire Chief Derek Robinson said policies and procedures the department established in response to COVID-19 change daily.

First responders to homes and businesses are now wearing masks and respirators and placing masks on all patients as a precautionary measure. Regardless of a call, all patients are asked questions regarding potential coronavirus exposure.

“It’s very important to us to know if they’ve tested positive or been exposed to someone that’s tested positive,” said Robinson, who reported his department has not experienced an increase in run volumes at this time.

Robinson thanked area businesses that donated personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers and surgical masks to the township.

“It’s been great seeing these people and companies supporting us,” said Robinson.

•Police Chief Gary York said all his officers were issued PPE, are placing masks on prisoners and instituting staff wellness checks. The department also established criteria for testing first responders for situations involving contact with someone testing positive for the coronavirus.

•Watkins said he is limiting public works crews to two employees and Brobst added while the township offices are closed to the public, her staff is working remotely and responding to messages and calls within 24 hours.

“I think this has gone well with all we’ve gone through,” said Dildine.

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