Daviess County officials are expected to raise the price on buggy plates. The Daviess County Commissioners have spent several weeks discussing the possibility of raising the price on the plates.
Officials say that after a meeting with the Amish Safety Committee it appears the county will be raising the cost on buggy plates from $60 to $75.
“We had a good conversation with them,” said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Nathan Gabhart. “We proposed raising the price of the plates to $75. Everyone around the table was in agreement with that.”
During the last several years, Daviess County officials have tried to increase the number of paved roads in the county. Much of that pavement has gone down on some of the more heavily traveled roads in the Amish community in the eastern part of the county. That additional pavement has seen a sustained problem from the horses pulling the buggies.
“We’ve got to do something,” said Commissioner Tom McCracken. “They are making too big of ruts and it’s costing us a lot. Raising that will help. It would also help if they bought some more plates.”
The number of buggy plates in the Daviess County Amish community has increased from 1,800 a few years ago to the current number of slightly more than 2,400.
“If there is a buggy permit required, it is on all buggies,” said Gabhart. “I can’t transfer my license plate on my vehicles around and neither should they. We think there are several more hundred potential buggy plates out there, but there is still not enough to cover the total cost of the damage.”
The county has been paying close attention during the last couple of years to the amount of blacktop it has put down to repair the troughs caused by the horses pulling the buggies.
“We’ve got some good documentation now on what it is costing us for the roads damaged by the hooves,” said County Highway Supervisor Phil Cornelius.
“We’ve spent a couple of years collecting information and we’ve got the data and the cost compilation on what the expenses are and we are going to use fifth grade math and common sense to work it out,” added Gabhart. “The one thing is if you destroy it you need to pay for it.”
Officials say this will most likely be the first increase in the buggy permits in Daviess County in a decade.
The commissioners have put off a final vote until their next meeting on Dec. 10 that will be held in the Amish community at the Shiloh Center.
“We felt it was only appropriate that if we were going to increase a tax on someone that we do it in front of them so that they can have some dialogue,” said Gabhart. “We are trying to be very public and very methodical with this. We are not trying to do anything behind the scenes.”
“If this is passed it will help facilitate us in keeping up the roads out there,” added Cornelius.