The Centre County Board of Commissioners held the third and final town hall meeting Thursday at the courthouse annex building to discuss the proposed $5 vehicle registration fee increase.
As part of the ACT 89 transportation bill signed by former Gov. Tom Corbett in 2013, county commissioners throughout the commonwealth have the option of enacting an ordinance that raises the vehicle registration fee by $5.
The meeting was the final step in a process started by the commissioners in January to offer municipalities and residents an opportunity to provide the board with input about the fee increase.
“Some counties have done this in one meeting and didn’t offer an opportunity for public feedback,” board Chairman Michael Pipe said. “We wanted to be very deliberate about the process and to have an open dialogue.”
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In January, the commissioners mailed letters and surveys to the county’s 35 municipalities asking for feedback and concerns about the increase. The municipalities had until March 1 to return the survey, and 19 of the 35 responded.
The 19 municipalities have a combined population of just more than 125,000 residents, which is about 80 percent of the county’s total population, according to U.S. census data. Twelve municipalities are in favor of the increase, six are not in favor and one was neutral.
The town hall meeting on Thursday ended the county’s efforts to gather input, but Pipe said the commissioners welcome public comment about the issue at their Tuesday meetings at 10 a.m. at the Willowbank building in Bellefonte.
The issue will be on the commissioners’ discussion agenda on April 18 and 25. A decision is expected in May, Pipe said.
“If we decide to enact the fee, it’s important for residents to know that 100 percent of the revenue generated will be spent on infrastructure projects in Centre County,” Pipe said.
If the fee is enacted in May, Pipe said residents will begin to see the increase in August.