After a trucker’s viral Facebook post put the spotlight on a small Kentucky town’s “Unloading License” fee, a new report suggests that the controversial fee may be illegal.
On June 25, truck driver Randal Hytek B posted about the town of West Buechel’s fee on Facebook, sharing an image of an application for an unloading license that he was given by law enforcement officer while he was in a parking lot at a Lowe’s.
The post reads: “To all my truck driving friends. Please be aware I was just handed this by an officer IN LOWES PARKING LOT. After July 1st you will have to pay 125.oo annual fee to deliver anywhere in west buechel, ky. That’s southeast side of louisville,ky.
The unloading license requires any person who unloads goods from trucks to pay a $125 annual fee “for the privilege of using the public ways.” The ordinance has been in place since 1996.
The post soon went viral and resulted in hundreds of phone calls and social media messages to West Buechel town leaders from members of the trucking community who were angered and confused by the fee.
A new report from WDRB suggests that the unloading fee is unevenly enforced, possibly illegal and that truckers who have paid the fee could be due a refund. One driver who frequently delivers to the town even told reporters that the tears up the applications whenever he receives them.
An attorney with the Kentucky League of Cities told the news station that the unloading fee ordinance is in conflict with a state law passed in 2015 which works to “prohibit cities or counties from imposing fees or taxes on any private or for-hire commercial motor vehicle for the loading or unloading of property, including household goods.”
The city of West Buechel says that only 20 people actually paid the unloading fee last year.