LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been a controversy in Luzerne County ever since it was announced in 2018.
A $5 countywide vehicle registration surcharge. But Tuesday night there was a chance it could be reversed. Residents in attendance say they are not pleased with the outcome of Tuesday night’s vote.
After public comment and discussion, Luzerne County residents will be paying for the annual $5 vehicle registration fee until the end of 2021. It wasn’t the tally these angry Luzerne County residents were hoping for.
Tuesday night, Luzerne County Council voted 7 to 4 to amend the $5 annual registration fee ordinance, extending it until the end of 2021. The fee revenue is dedicated to the repair of county-owned roads and bridges. Council then voted 10 to 1 on the revised ordinance, putting the new termination of December 31, 2021 into effect.
Residents who spoke ahead of the vote say they are not happy with their elected officials because they made a promise they didn’t keep.
“I’m just here to say the fee needs to stop, the fee had a sunset clause put into it, and I think we need to follow that,” Brian Dwyer, Luzerne County resident.
Nanticoke resident, Ronald Napp said, “I’m here in defense for the elderly that end up being forced from their homes because of these nickel and dime tactics that yes do add up especially when living on a budget that gets you from paycheck to paycheck.”
“Oh it’s only $5. Well it’s only $60 for the rain water fee and it’s only $10 for this and $10 for that. How many $10 & $5 are they going to be able to take out of our pockets to pay for all this?” adds Richard Manta of Luzerne County.
Jason Carr says, “It’s very disappointing that we continue to be taxed, hardworking people that sit here.”
The majority of council voted in favor of the fee along with the extension. Their reasoning was to make sure the $2 million match from the state was met.
Luzerne County Council member Rob Schnee says, “I have $5 and someone is giving me $5 and I could move this county forward a little bit? I can’t see how you can’t go after that money.”
But one lawmaker agreed with residents, saying the $5 fee is unfair.
“The taxpayers can’t handle this,” says Harry Haas, Luzerne County Council. “I said the last time and a lot of folks here agree with me. We can’t keep on taking $5 from the people every year to fix the 302 bridges and then 120 some miles of roads. We’ll never get it done. It’s just not going to happen.”
Also at the meeting, county manager Dave Pedri gave his state of the county report, naming the highlights of 2019 and addressing his 2020 priorities for the county.
2019 highlights include:
- A- credit rating, highest in county history
- Implemented short term investment policy
- Ema recognized as best in state
- Rockin the river
2020 priorities include:
- 2020 election
- Implementation of 911 digital project
- New 5 year financial plan
- Excess real estate addressed