Council votes to raise wheel tax
Big Island residents will find themselves with a bigger bill the next time they register their car or truck.
The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday voted 8-1 to approve higher vehicle taxes and registration fees, a move intended to support infrastructure and make costs more comparable with other counties.
The county’s registration fee will jump $5 to $12 and taxes will increase for most vehicles from 3/4 of a cent per pound to 1.25 cents per pound.
An additional $2.8 million is expected to be raised annually as a result.
South Kona/Ka‘u Councilwoman Brenda Ford voted against the increases, noting that the money will go into the county’s general fund.
“There is no way for us to know where this tax increase is going to go and what it is supposed to do,” she said.
The fees were last adjusted in 2002 and 2004. The new rates are either on par or less than other counties in the state, according to the county.
As the result of the new fees, the owner of a Toyota Camry will pay $176.70 annually, an increase of $24.70.
That’s about the same as in Kauai County, but 43 percent less than what Honolulu County charges and 22 percent less than Maui County’s taxes and fees.
Bus users are also facing higher fees.
On Monday, the cost of a general fare increased from $1 to $2.
Students, senior citizens and disabled riders with valid identification pay a discounted $1 fare. Children under 5 ride for free.
The council on Wednesday also voted to establish official speed limits in Hawaiian Paradise Park of 15 mph on unpaved roads and 25 mph on paved roads.
Both bills require the mayor’s signature.
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