Mooresville Town Manager Randy Hemann told the Board of Commissioners and other town staff Friday he would not include a proposed $20 annual license plate fee in the upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year budget after lawmakers passed a federal COVID-19 relief bill providing funds that would cover an $801,000 town road maintenance shortfall.
Hemann said he expected the relief bill to provide to the town as much as $11 million.
“Some of that funding will be used to replace some income we lost in other areas — in permit fee areas and income areas — that would really affect our general fund and possibly add back in enough to pay for what we would have expected from the license plate fee,” Hemann said.
This news came during a remote Mooresville Board of Commissioners agenda briefing meeting Friday morning.
As reported by the Raleigh News and Observer, the $1.9 trillion package, recently signed by President Joe Biden, includes $350 billion for state and local governments, including $9 billion in aid for North Carolina state government. Iredell County is expected to receive about $35.3 million, according to the News and Observer.
Hemann did not completely rule the license plate fee out, however.
“I will not be adding that in the budget this year so we can contemplate that again possibly in the future,” Hemann said, adding he is yet unsure how the rest of the funding would be used.
The proposed license plate fee would cover an $801,000 gap in the town’s road paving program. The $20 annual fee for the approximate 40,000 registered Mooresville drivers was a controversial idea not all commissioners appeared to favor during an informal poll taken Feb. 18 during the board’s annual retreat.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of people appreciative they don’t have to pay that $20 fee during the middle of a pandemic,” said Commissioner Gary West on Friday.