As part of the 2019 budget, the Washougal City Council voted to initiate a state-authorized $20 annual vehicle registration fee to provide enhanced funding for road maintenance. Revenues collected from the registration fees will go directly to the City’s Pavement Management Program (PMP) fund and cannot, by law, be used for any other purposes. Increasing the PMP is the Council’s number one operational priority in 2019. The new fee will allow the City to increase funding for the PMP by over $113,000 in 2019 (from $750,000 in 2018 to $863,000 in 2019 - a 15% increase). In 2020, the City should see an additional 5% increase in funding to $906,000. Many other neighboring communities have adopted the same fee to help with maintaining roadways, including Ridgefield, Longview, Vancouver, Battle Ground, Kalama and Kelso.
Pavement management is the process of planning the reconstruction, rehabilitation, maintenance and repair of streets to efficiently optimize the pavement conditions over the entire network of roadways. It is vital to the community because proper pavement management allows cities to avoid costly replacements in the long run. A portion of the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) and general funds have historically been used to finance this program. The new vehicle license fee revenue will be added to the mix to enhance the program.
“The Council has heard from our neighbors that taking care of our streets is very important to them. I am pleased that the Council has taken this step to invest further in our Pavement Management Program,” said Mayor Molly Coston.
Studies have shown that scheduled maintenance extends the life of city streets by up to 50% and that it costs less than the expensive repairs needed without scheduled maintenance. The cost of replacing unmaintained roads is much more expensive than the cost of regular maintenance. By adding the vehicle registration fee, the City will be able to save resources and keep streets drivable and safe.
The $20 annual registration fee collection will begin for those vehicles with a registration tab of June at time of registration in 2019. The annual registration fee is in addition to the state-required vehicle fees. Vehicles excluded from the new fee include all farm vehicles, campers, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, mopeds, personal-use trailers with single axle less than 2,000lb scale weight, trailers used exclusively for hauling logs, combination trailers, horseless carriages, collector or restored-plate vehicles, converter gear, government vehicles, private school vehicles, and vehicles properly registered to disabled American veterans.
With the new vehicle tab fee, the City expects to begin enhanced roadway maintenance and repairs this summer.
Trevor Evers, Public Works Director
(360) 835-8501 ext. 202
Michele Loftus, Communications Specialist
(360) 835-8501 ext. 510