In order to generate funding for county and local roads, the Marshall County Commissioners approved a recommendation to the county council to enact a Local Option Highway User Tax (LOHUT). A LOHUT contains a vehicle excise tax and wheel tax.
Supervisor of County Highways Jason Peters said the county now operates with $850,000 for road projects. With the addition of relinquishment funds of $350,000, the county will have $1.2 million to chip and seal 13.5 miles of road and to pave five miles of road this year. The $1.2 million figure also includes dust control and the acquisition of materials.
If the county enacts the LOHUT, Peters said his department could accomplish a lot more with the addition of 850,000 from the tax.
“We could do 25 more miles of chip and seal and ten more miles of paving with millings,” said Peters. “That would still leave us roughly $100,000 to do miscellaneous work with that money also.”
Peters said work is being done now to significantly save the county money with utilizing the county’s newly purchased asphalt zipper and pug mill.
“With the pug mill, we ran close to 1,000 tons of millings and that was roughly $22.80 a ton which came to about $22,800. For the cold patch, that would have been $64,000. With our hot mix, if we would have used 1,000 ton of that at $54, that would have been right around $54,000. Just by running the two things, we’ve saved almost $31,000.”
The revenue coming into the highway budget has flatlined from the state and expenses keep climbing.
A lot of the issues have been caused due to a sub-par foundation when the roads were constructed back in the early 1930s. Increased heavy traffic over the year quickened the deterioration rate of the roads. Two bad winters with frost line issues have contributed to the poor road conditions.
Two residents spoke out against the implementation of a LOHUT and to exhaust all other means of funding sources before agreeing to a new tax.
The commissioners approved a recommendation to implement the tax, and the county council will discuss it when they meet on Monday, May 11 at 9 a.m. ET in the second-floor meeting room in the Marshall County Building in Plymouth.