Wheel tax gives Pennington County access to state funds

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 6:16 PM CDT
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The wheel tax approved Tuesday is to tax 2 dollars per wheel and not to exceed 24 dollars per vehicle, starting 2021. It is estimated to generate approximately 1.3 million dollars annually, which will help repair the aging bridges. There are currently 21 bridges in Pennington County that are deemed to be "deficient."

In addition to the tax revenues retained locally, Gary Drewes says having a wheel tax is a requirement for a county to access South Dakota's local bridge improvement grant fund, which is known as the BIG fund. "Now, Pennington County tax payers are already paying into this BIG fund, we pay into BIG fund daily through ethanol, alcohol taxes, motor vehicle taxes, and license plate fees. But currently we've been not able to apply to get into those dollars back."

Drewes says, Pennington County is one of the very few counties in South Dakota that has not impose a wheel tax. Now that the wheel tax is approved, the county can finally apply and utilize the fund from the state.