Broader tax might not get broader support

Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller said after he realized the $5 tax he sought for vehicle registrations wouldn’t be paid by everyone in the county, he dropped the proposal.

So he went back to the drawing board and now proposes a pair of $5 license fees.

Due to the complex nature of the tax – including the fact residents of Attica, Bettsville, Bloomville, Green Springs and Tiffin, and the townships of Adams, Bloom, Clinton, Hopewell, Liberty, Reed, Scipio, Seneca, Thompson and Venice, already pay the $5 fee he initially proposed – it would take tandem taxes to tag every resident in the county.

Well, everyone except those living in Fostoria, which already has enacted two $5 license fees.

Zoeller’s goal essentially remains the same: raise revenue to help attract state funding for improvements to SR 53 by showing our county is serious about making county roadways safer.

“Now everyone pays in, but everyone gets some money out of it,” he said. “And it’s not geared towards (SR) 53, it’s geared towards all county roads.”

That may assuage some concerns of the other two commissioners. Jeff Wagner has stated he wasn’t sold on the original proposal – intended to raise matching funds for renovations to SR 53 – partly because work on state routes should be paid for with state funds.

And under Zoeller’s revised proposal, more county residents would have some “skin in the game,” as he likes to say.

But if he had a difficult time before getting his two counterparts to not object to a single $5 tax, getting them to agree on a pair of such fees would be even tougher.

Even with their support, the taxes still could be subject to a referendum. Which would mean Zoeller again might have to go back to the drawing board.