Clarkston city leaders hear reaction from both sides of proposed car tab fee

CLARKSTON, WA - City leaders in Clarkston and Asotin are considering a proposal to add a fee to car tabs to help pay for road improvements.

The public had a chance to weigh-in on the proposal Monday night.

"You guys are out of control with your spending," said resident Howard Miller.

Clarkston local Howard Miller wasn't shy about his opinion Monday night. He's opposing the potential car tab fee which would tax locals $20 per car tab that's purchased.

"We've come up with a fair way of doing it, I feel at $20 a tab," said Clarkston council member, Terry Beadles. "If a person has several vehicles, which I do and I'm willing to pay it because the streets are important."

Currently, the road department has two sources of revenue to pay for road improvements. Property taxes and gas taxes. Combined they add up to roughly $500,000 per year. With the budget restraints as they are...the road department is only able to chip seal about one mile of city road per year.

"With respect to your chip seal program, one mile a year, fifty miles...that's fifty years," said Asotin County Public Works Director, Jim Bridges. "That's totally inadequate. You'll start losing roads, your roads will become gravel."

Scott Eckberg said he understands the city budget constraints are tight but doesn't think it'll be a fair way to get revenue.

"Across the street from where I live, I have a neighbor who has four vehicles too and they're all registered in the state of Idaho," said Clarkston resident, Scott Eckberg.

"We don't check people's driveways and garages to see if people have Idaho plates," said Clarkston Police Chief, Joel Hastings. "But we will get complaints from neighbors and we do we will address them."

Clarkston city council members concluded their public hearing Monday by tabling the issue.

Mayor Vikki Bonfield of Asotin said their city council discussed the same possibility last night but haven't taken action. They'll have a public hearing in the near future.

The car fees won't be applicable to rigs like campers, trailers or trucks over a certain weight.