The Pulaski County Commissioners received information last night about a Local Option Highway User Tax (LOHUT) that can be used to construct, reconstruct, repair or maintain streets under a county, city or town jurisdiction.
Pat Conner from the Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) out of Purdue University explained that the LOHUT is made up of a surtax of the vehicle excise tax and wheel tax. The surtax and a wheel tax can be a flat rate decided by the council that will be payable at the time vehicle registration is due. If the council decides to pass the LOHUT, an ordinance would be approved, and a public hearing held to gather opinions concerning the increase.
If the county implemented the maximum rates, it would generate $495,110.25 in extra funding for roads.
All of the money generated would not just be utilized for the county. The towns of Francesville, Medaryville, Monterey and Winamac would also receive a percentage of the money based on population and road mileage.
Members from the county highway department said that roads in the southern part of the county are in bad shape. The severity of the freezing and thawing deteriorated several roads this winter.
The implementation of a frost law was also discussed, but the council members didn’t know how well it would be enforced. A frost law is a seasonal restriction on traffic weight limits and speeds on roadways subject to pavement damage due to thaw weakening.
The council did not act on the information presented. It’s not known if the council members will discuss it at their June meeting. The ordinance would need to be passed by June 30 in order for money to be gathered in 2016.