Commissioners publish ordinance for $5 vehicle registration fee increase

The Centre County board of commissioners has drafted and published a new ordinance, which, if passed, will allow the county to implement a $5 vehicle registration fee increase.

The ordinance was drafted by county staff and published on Friday in the Centre Daily Times ahead of the board’s vote.

The process started in January when the board announced it was considering exercising its option to enact the fee as permitted by the Act 89 transportation bill signed by former Gov. Tom Corbett in 2013. The act requires boards of commissioners to publish the ordinance a minimum of one week prior to voting.

As part of the implementation process, the board sent surveys to the 35 county municipalities asking for feedback about the proposed increase. Nineteen of the 35 municipalities responded. Twelve municipalities are in favor of the increase, six are not in favor and one is neutral. The board also held three town halls in an effort to receive feedback from county residents.

The 11-section ordinance confirms that all of the revenue generated by the increase will be used for projects in the county. Board Chairman Michael Pipe said the fund allocation process was an issue raised by municipalities as well as residents.

“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.

The ordinance directs county staff to create a web page that updates visitors on the amount of money collected, how the money is allocated, spent and leveraged for state money. County staff will also create and make available to the public an annual report that will detail usage of the money.

The ordinance has a sunset clause built in that requires the 2022 board of commissioners to vote on continuing the fee implementation.

The board will vote on the fee on May 9. If enacted, county residents will begin to see the increase in August.

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi