Township residents facing city of Janesville wheel tax

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Saturday, May 5, 2012
— Some residents living in Janesville’s surrounding townships might unwittingly be paying for Janesville streets.

That’s because the state Department of Transportation has incorrect vehicle locations for those residents on file and has unknowingly charged them the city’s new $10 wheel tax.

Janesville residents now must pay $85 to renew their driver’s licenses compared to the standard $75.

This spring, the city started charging the additional $10 to people who own cars and lightweight trucks. The money goes to maintaining city streets.

The state collects the money and returns it to the city, taking 10 cents from each fee for its trouble. The state uses the information it has on file when that vehicle is first registered, said Linda Lewis, state vehicle records chief.

Possibly the owner, or most likely the car dealer, might not have recorded the specific township the vehicle would be stored in when it was first purchased, Lewis said. In fact, some people are not even sure whether they live in Janesville or in a township, one city staff member said.

This is the first year the specific address makes a difference in the cost of a license, Lewis said. Drivers can correct the mistake by mailing in renewals with checks for the proper amounts, crossing out the incorrect information, she said.

State workers will correct the information when they process the renewals, she said.

If a driver wants to pay online, he or she must contact the DOT separately because service is not offered online. Drives can email the state with correct information at vehicle

questions@dot.wi.gov. Drivers will need to have their driver’s license numbers handy.

Drivers also can use that email address if they have been wrongly charged the $10, and the state will refund the money, Lewis said.

Residents can call the DOT, but phones lines are very busy—especially at the beginning of the week, Lewis said. The number is (608) 266-1466.

Lewis said such errors are not uncommon during the first year of a wheel tax. This is why the state is sending renewal notices in envelopes this year rather than the standard postcards.

The envelopes are meant to draw attention to the change and also include information about the wheel tax.

Drivers should carefully review their renewal notices, Lewis said. They also should be sure the extra $10 is not being charged because they have special plates on their cars.

Residents with questions also can call the city clerk’s office at (608) 755-3000.

Last updated: 8:39 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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