Emission Fees Facing Increase

Emission Fees Facing Increase

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Richard Piatt ReportingThe cost of getting your vehicle emissions tested could be going up in Salt Lake County. But that's in exchange for a new every-other-year testing policy for certain vehicles.

Next week, the County Council will consider the change to the fees, with people on both sides of the issue scrambling.

Change in emission testing policy comes because Salt Lake County's air quality has gotten better. And, because, compared to about 20 years ago, there are cleaner-running cars. Testing has forced polluters to clean up.

But Michael Duncan says that requiring a test once every two years instead of once a year cuts into the profits of businesses that do 'Just Emissions'.

Michael Duncan/Just Emissions: “The overhead, the rent, the overtime. We work ten-hour days. That means time and a half for part of that day. That stuff they don't understand."

Duncan says this is a tough business, full of bureaucratic requirements the public doesn't see. He'd like a fee increase--or even better, to let the market determine the price of an inspection.

At least one of the decision-makers on the council agrees with him.

Jim Bradley/Salt Lake County Council: "I think that, yes, it is fair to look at raising the fee or adjusting the program in some fashion to allow them to continue be able to be in business."

But others on the council, as well as the state lawmaker who changed the state law, don't think a fee increase is right. They argue that profit shouldn't be part of a government-mandated program, especially when it seems to favor newer car owners.

Michael Jensen/Salt Lake County Council: "That to me presents a problem, because you're really punishing people whose cars are six years and older."

The county council is under some pressure to make a decision on this matter next Tuesday. The new state law takes effect that day, July first, which means if emission fees can change in Salt Lake County, they will soon.

Salt Lake County council will be holding a public hearing on the vehicle emission fee increase proposal next Tuesday at its regular 4 o'clock meeting.

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