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Aiken City Council poised to repeal and refund road maintenance fee

Andrea Gregory, Aiken City Council, Voting

Aiken City Council member Andrea Gregory raises her hand as she votes at a recent meeting. City Council next meets Aug. 23. (Colin Demarest/Staff)

The Aiken City Council is poised to repeal the city’s road maintenance fee on Monday.

Council preliminarily approved rescinding the fee Aug. 9, weeks after the S.C. Supreme Court ruled such charges are de facto taxes and violate state law.

City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh has said getting rid of the fee would be the “prudent thing to do.” Council’s first vote to do so was unanimous.

The ordinance up for consideration Monday was prepared by the city attorney, Gary Smith. It would rescind the road fee as well as refund “all payments to the fund received for motor vehicles with tag expirations from July 2021 and forward,” city documents state.

Aiken’s road maintenance fee – $20 per vehicle – was instituted in 2017, and mirrors an Upstate measure that the state’s high court struck down. The local fee has reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

City Council meetings on Monday begin at 5:30 p.m. A work session, a closed-door executive session and a regular meeting are planned. The 7 p.m. regular meeting has more than a dozen items on the agenda.

Council meetings, at the downtown Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave. S.W., are open to the public. They are also livestreamed on the city’s YouTube page,

Colin Demarest covers the Savannah River Site, the Energy Department, its NNSA, and government and politics, in general. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin.

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