Could a wheel tax increase happen in Pennington County?

There are over 115 bridges in Pennington County and 89 will need fixed in the 25 years
There are over 115 bridges in Pennington County and 89 will need fixed in the 25 years(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 4:07 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Pennington County Commissioners will meet for the biweekly meeting on Tuesday, and on the agenda, the group plans to expand the county’s wheel tax. The tax is currently at $2 per wheel and could move up to $5 a wheel.

The wheel tax was implemented to help with the cost of bridge reconstruction in the county. Many of the county’s 119 bridges in were built after the 1972 flood and are now 50 years old. To replace the bridges the county is applying for the state’s Bridge Improvement Grant, but the only way the county qualifies for the grant is by having a wheel tax.

(“In the next 25 years, 89 of those bridges have to get replaced at an average cost of 750 thousand. And you know just with the county highway, with their budget and our budget, that infrastructure costs it would just. I’d hate to even say what it would take in real estate taxes to support that much,” explained District 1 Commissioner, Ron Rossknecht.

In 2021 the county brought in more than $1.4 million from the wheel tax and by bumping it to five dollars the county is expected to bring in $3.6 million.

Rossknecht says the bridge rehabilitation is needed for safety reasons after he pointed to a caved-in bridge near Nemo Road.

Meade County’s wheel tax is $5, and both Butte and Lawerence County’s is $2 unless the car is over 6,000 pounds, then it is $5. The state’s most populous county, Minnehaha has a $4 tax on each wheel.

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