New vehicle fee unfair to Clackamas County residents
It is unfortunate that the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance setting a $30 per year countywide vehicle-registration fee.
At least I went and tried to make a difference at a second public hearing Thursday when they decided to pass the ordinance against my objections and the protest of many other county residents.
During the three minutes they allowed me to speak, I told them that I thought the proposal is ridiculous. They're just tacking it onto the current DMV registration fees, which are already way higher than they should be.
I believe they should make people who buy new cars get renewed every two years, just like cars bought more than three years ago. Currently, if your car is older than three years, you have to get it renewed every two years. If your car is two years old or newer you don't have to get it renewed for three to four years. If they make everyone equal and slightly raise the price, I think it would grant them just as much money, if not more.
What about vehicles that drive in the county, but don't get their tags here? Cargo vehicles, delivery companies (FedEx, UPS, etc.) and people who live outside the county don't go through our DEQ stations, but they should somehow give Clackamas County fees too for driving on our roads. Maybe it should be a statewide fee that gives money to the county and a fee for DMV inside the county? Or maybe there should be a tax on items purchased online only, which goes directly to the counties the items are delivered to?
I think a gas tax would also be a more reasonable option. With a vehicle-registration fee, only residents of Clackamas County are paying for maintenance of our roads. If we really do need to impose a fee to get caught up on road maintenance (I'm not convinced they can't find another way out of their more than $1 billion county budget), a fuel tax would impose the fee on everyone using the county's roadways and purchasing gas within Clackamas County. If I go to Multnomah or Washington counties and I need gas, I pay their fuel tax. Why shouldn't Clackamas County require out-of-county residents to help in maintaining our roads? Many of them use our roads to travel to Mt. Hood, among the many other popular tourist destinations we have. I oppose the vehicle-registration fee, and would rather opt for a fuel tax for this reason.
It seems like there could be a lot of different ways this could be resolved to be more beneficial to our roads and fairer to our residents. Why does it have to be a heavy dollar amount added just to those who get their vehicle tags in Clackamas County, when the amount we are already charged is expensive? This will just hurt those families living in Clackamas County who are in the middle- to low-income brackets.
Tiffany Turgetto is a resident of unincorporated Happy Valley.