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Town finds detour around county fee increase

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — The vehicle decal fee for Hillsville will rise by $10, but town residents will receive that same amount back in credits.

Town officials felt it was better to increase the vehicle fee themselves, rather than Hillsville residents having to pay that amount to the county.

When the Carroll County supervisors voted to do away with the requirement for the windshield stickers, they rewrote the ordinance at the same time. The revised county ordinance states its vehicle license fee of $25 would not be imposed on any vehicle kept in the town limits, provided the town "imposes a license fee upon such motor vehicles equal to or greater than the license fee imposed by the county."

The county's ordinance adds that "should such town impose a license fee less than the county, upon proof of payment of the same to the town, the owner shall receive a credit on the county license fee for the license fee paid to the town and pay the difference to the county."

As the town's decal fee was $15, Hillsville officials came to the conclusion that town residents would have to pay the difference of $10 to Carroll, according to the county ordinance.

So the Hillsville Town Council set a public hearing on raising the decal fee by $10 at its July 27 meeting.

No citizen spoke, and council members reported hearing no negative feedback on the decal idea.

"I've had some private citizens approach me and they are for the fee increase..." said Council Member Orba Alderman. "I haven't heard any negative."

Mayor Bill Tate and Council Member Greg Yonce agreed. "Everyone I've talked to has been supportive," Yonce said.

How soon does town council need to approve a motion on this? Council Member Ed Terry asked.

Tonight, town Treasurer Judy Bolt answered, to avoid having the fee put on everybody's county tax bills.

After a question about non-motorized vehicles involved in the county's decal ordinance, Terry made a motion to increase the town's motor vehicle fees.

Under the motion, the fee for cars and trucks would rise to $25 each and go from $6 to $15 for motorcycles.

In addition, the motion would allow the town treasurer to issue a general fund voucher with credit for $10 for each car and truck and $9 for each motorcycle sticker bought between March 1 and Oct. 14.

Those vouchers would be valid until June 30 of the year following for credit on any of the town's bills for the general fund.

The motion was approved unanimously after a second by Yonce.