New automotive tax in Saluda 

Published 4:29 pm Friday, May 17, 2019

Commissioners approve $20 per vehicle tax to fix roads 


SALUDA—Beginning July 1, Saluda residents will begin paying an extra automotive tax of $20 per registered vehicle.  

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The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday and approved the new tax.  

The tax will be paid annually for all registered vehicles in the city beginning July 1, 2019, which is the first day of the city’s new budget year.  

Commissioners approved a resolution to begin levying the tax this year, with not more than $5 per vehicle allowed to be used for any general purpose for the city.  

The remainder of the tax will be used for maintaining, repairing, constructing, reconstructing, widening or improving city-owned public streets.  

Saluda has had issues lately with street repairs and potholes and discussed last month the possibility of levying the new tax to go towards street repairs. State Powell Bill funding for roads has also been decreasing.  

Saluda also recently decided to stop doing leaf collection because there is no longer a place to dump the leaves and plans to use the money saved on that service towards street repairs.  

Commissioner Mark Oxtoby expressed concern Monday night over the resolution allowing up to $5 per vehicle to be used for anything other than streets.  

“Can we say we wish for the whole tax to go towards roads,” Oxtoby asked.  

Oxtoby said he would like to make it hard for future boards to use the tax for anything other than roads.  

Saluda City Attorney Jana Berg said by leaving it as written, it gives the city the option to use up to $5 per vehicle for other purposes.  

Saluda could have levied a tax per state statute on vehicles up to $30 a year.  

Since Saluda is the first in Polk County to enact the new tax, if Tryon and/or Columbus decided to levy a similar tax, they would have to also enact $20.  

Saluda’s new tax will be added to the costs of renewing vehicle registration and paying the taxes on the vehicle.  

During a budget public hearing Monday, commissioners heard from resident Susan Riddle about the new tax. Riddle said her household has four vehicles and asked if the city would consider a cut off amount for the number of vehicles being taxed. She said the new tax will cause a burden for her household as well as several other residents in Saluda.  


Resolution to levy an annual municipal vehicle tax  

WHEREAS, North Carolina General Statute §20-97 provides for a city or town to levy an annual municipal vehicle tax upon any vehicle resident in the City of up to thirty dollars ($30.00), the net proceeds of which may be used as follows: 

(1) General purpose. – Not more than five dollars ($5.00) of the tax levied may be used for any lawful purpose, and 

(2) Public streets. – The remainder of the tax levied may be used for maintaining, repairing, constructing, reconstructing, widening, or improving public streets in the city that do not form a part of the State highway system; and 

WHEREAS, the City of Saluda has determined that the levy of an annual municipal vehicle tax would provide a sorely needed source of additional revenue with which to maintain, repair, construct, reconstruct, widen, or improve public streets within the City of Saluda. 

NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of Commissioners of the City of Saluda does hereby levy an Annual Municipal Vehicle Tax of twenty dollars ($20.00) to be effective the 1st day of July 2019.