When the Ada County Highway District pleaded poverty this week and floated the idea of doubling the fees for vehicle registration, it re-ignited a long smoldering issue the GUARDIAN has with rental car agencies and some other commercial vehicle users.
Some 20 years ago when Ada County created the laws for emission testing and the surcharge for street and bridge replacement, the rental car folks suddenly created “offices” in places like Mountain Home, Caldwell, Pocatello–ANYWHERE other than Ada County to register their vehicles and avoid the local taxes which can be $40 per vehicle.
We have done checking over the years and find it is a scam, but there is no enforcement. State law allows you to register a vehicle in any county, but the home address must be the county of RESIDENCE. Hunters and “old Idahoans” register in Boise County so they are not obvious Boise dudes when they visit the rural areas seeking permission to hunt.
Check out the rental cars at the airport and you will see mostly 2C and 8B plates. We did some informal records checking a year ago and learned that since Ada County is the only county in all of Idaho that charges fees other than the state motor vehicle rate, there was little interest in tracking down the cheaters.
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Jul 25, 2008, 10:25 am
We enjoy your blog enough to have included it in our “Blogs of Interest”, and hope you approve.
Jul 25, 2008, 10:35 am
“Ada County is the only county in all of Idaho that charges fees other than the state motor vehicle rate”
Correction. ACHD has nothing to do with the County. And it’s the only such District in the State. The question should be whether any of the other Highway Districts have a similar fee.
EDITOR NOTE–We are both correct. The GUARDIAN ref is to the “County Designator” on the license plate. It is not the county GOVERNMENT, but it is indeed the county of residence we were talking about.
Jul 25, 2008, 12:19 pm
Not only to they skip out on the extra fees, they also do not have to comply with the Ada County smog check program, I think is probably the main reason they seek to register cars outside Ada County.
I think Ada County should have a rule: rental agencies that rent cars through offices in Ada County must have a percentage of its available fleet registered in that county (allowing for moving cars between destinations, etc.).
Jul 25, 2008, 12:20 pm
If the registration fee is doubled in Ada County — or increased at the state level — it could have a detrimental effect on overall registration revenues — particularly for the IDT.
As one who currently sports vanity plates of the Wildlife variety, I would give up those costly features and revert to the bare minimum required to keep my registration legal. The wife’s Bluebird plates would go as well.
I would do this even if it meant exposing myself to landowners in Boise County and other rural areas as a resident of the Great State of Ada.
Jul 25, 2008, 1:09 pm
I would almost have to believe that the $6k charges are for all the equipment and installation charges on these vehicles.
Question I have is ..a Crown Vic is a Crown Vic. All of the lights and custody cages, radios, modems, computers, flashlights and other cop stuff could be transferred from vehicle to vehicle as they update the fleet. Sand blast the old steel cages and other stuff and play it again Sam.
EDITOR NOTE– For the most part, that is exactly what they do. As the new “visor lights” mounted inside the vehicle and low wattage LED lights are used, they replace the old bubble gum balls. They told us since the Salem ride pimpers are specialized, they do it in fewer hours than the locals who do a variety of mechanic work.
Jul 25, 2008, 5:05 pm
ACHD is the most waste prone entity in all of County government. We should not be concerned with this trifling item but be incensed over the everyday wastefulness, such as three men leaning on a shovel while a fourth actually digs. ACHD is, in my opinion, the worst of the worst. Plus, management is arrogant about their inefficiency.
Jul 26, 2008, 1:53 am
C’mon; ACHD needs more money to build more roads it can’t take care of.
Then it can say it needs more money because there are more roads to take care of. Then it’ll get more money, but we’ll still be ducking potholes and watching them rebuild the same intersection over and over instead of deciding in advance how they want it done.
Jul 26, 2008, 9:14 am
Just pony up and pass it! It is for the children. . . and maybe a few more mouthpieces.
Jul 26, 2008, 5:35 pm
I’d much rather have the ACHD than the old system of fragmented city road districts looking out for themselves with no interest in integration with a county plan, redundant bureaucracy and associated costs, and local polecats such as Bieter and DeWeerd sticking their noses into every little decision. Oh well at least we got two out of three.
That said I think Dave’s original topic was rental car companies dodging Ada County vehicle taxes and inspections. The rental companies are not unique as dodging those regulations is widespread among individual owners who have the ability to do so also. I really don’t mind the rentals dodging the emission testing and impact fees since their vehicles are under two years old and unlikely to fail the tests and their drivers impact is mostly to bring revenue to the state and leave.
Jul 26, 2008, 6:32 pm
ACHD has long been called Ada County Chipcoat Seal Department in my house.
That’s what they do.
They chipcoat seal stuff.
Jul 27, 2008, 9:04 am
Partially out of a sense of civic responsibility, and partly for entertainment, I have attended numerous Council, Board, District, Etc., Meetings here in Boise.
I am often amused, and sometimes angered by how few people vote, and the seemingly fewer still who actively participate in our democracy.
Though not a panacea for all that ills our community, I dare say that attending and speaking up at these meetings is far more effective at affecting change than complaining on these and/or other pages.
Jul 27, 2008, 8:55 pm
James bond says: “ACHD has long been called Ada County Chipcoat Seal Department in my house. That’s what they do. They chipcoat seal stuff.”
Well, Duh. Chipsealing is one of the most cost effective maintance programs ACHD has.