County Considers Gas Tax Hike Monday; Century Says It’s Unfair To All North Escambia

November 18, 2012

The Town of Century is calling for the Escambia County Commission to reject a four-cent gas tax increase because it would be unfair to North Escambia residents.

The commission will consider the gas tax hike at a special meeting Monday in order to fund the ECAT bus system.

In a letter to commissioners, Century Town Council President Ann Brooks said “the proposed gasoline tax would adversely affect the Town of Century”. Brooks, who also represents the town on  county’s Mass Transit Advisory Committee, said service stations are Century’s largest class of businesses. She said gas is typically cheaper in nearby Alabama, due in part to 27 cents in lower taxes than Florida.

“The gas tax in Florida is 53.4 cents while in Alabama it is only 26.4 cents per gallon. If the taxes on gas are increased by four cents a gallon, these service stations in close proximity to  Alabama will likely go out of business,” Brooks wrote.

She said that while the entire county would suffer through a gas tax hike for public transportation, North Escambia residents would not benefit. ECAT provides limited service to Century, Cantonment and Molino — with one bus making stops in the mornings as early as 6:15, midday and nights as late at 7:05.

“The residents of Walnut Hill, Davisville, Bratt, Byrneville, and McDavid have to find transportation to Century or Molino to be able to take advantage of ECAT. The options for public transportation for the north end of Escambia County are few and not good ones,” she said.

If approved, the increased gas tax is expected to net the county about $4 million when it takes effect no earlier than January 2014. It currently costs the county about $3.2 million to fund the Escambia County Area Transit System, plus about $3.7 million from grants from the state and federal governments.

Escambia County currently collects 10-cents in tax per gallon — a direct seven-cent levy plus a three-cent levy collected by the state and returned to the county.

The public hearing on the proposed gas tax increase is set for Monday, November 19 at 10:30 a.m.


31 Responses to “County Considers Gas Tax Hike Monday; Century Says It’s Unfair To All North Escambia”

  1. Bud on November 20th, 2012 7:57 am

    I was at the meeting yesterday -

    This was never about the bus system – repeat this was not about the bus system.

    The county commissioners were very shrewd and smart in presenting this tax.

    First the timing of the meeting – Monday morning – where most working people are at work and could not attend the meeting.

    Second – they placed the vote before the two new commissioners were sworn in (just a few days later) that way the two departing commissioners would have no responsibility in the vote and the two new commissioners would have no responsibility with the vote as almost (90% reported) were against the tax.

    Third -this was about the $3.2 MM freed up by this tax to be used by the county for whatever they wanted – no strings attached. With the gas tax paying for the bus system, the part the county was putting into the system ($3.2MM) now goes to the general fund.

    The bus system may be improved but it was only a vehicle to cover up this release of money for the county. They could have used anything – improving roads, sheriff’s department, library – anything that is a concern to many – the bus system was and is a diversion. So Century you are not the only one being screwed over this – the whole county is – because I would guess 99% of the people that live in P’cola never use the bus.

    Unless someone has a better idea – I think the only thing we can do is remember this when it comes time to vote and get all these people , that are supposed to looking out for you – out of office.

    On second thought – you might email your commissioner and tell him/her what you think about the way this was handled and tell them you will be voting for someone else next election.

  2. Trisha on November 19th, 2012 8:58 pm

    I’ll be buying gas within the city limits from now on.

  3. Debbie on November 19th, 2012 6:21 pm

    Just what we needed…more taxes. Pensacola is not designed to be user friendly for public transportation. Our population is scattered and the destinations for any particular locale are too widespread to be convenient for most people to use ECAT. We barely get by on our paychecks now, but I guess this is only the beginning…waiting for the other tax increases to kick in!

  4. Lady on November 19th, 2012 5:00 pm

    Here we go again – the North end of the County NEVER GETS ANYTHING. We have to drive halfway to Pensacola for tags, licenses and for court cases all the way DOWNTOWN. I know young people who have gotten in trouible and have to go ALL THE WAY DOWNTOWN TO GET CLASSES when they don’t have any money. None offered in North end for them to turn their lives around. The ECAT bus NEVER COMES UP HWY 97 and very little UP HWY 29.Thought we would get a Commissioner that would help us out and now he
    is going to let them tax us again with NOTHING in return. Alabama looks better and better to live in. What is coming next?

  5. Really on November 19th, 2012 1:08 pm

    If there’s a price increase, it should be on the individuals who use this transportation system!

  6. Robert Jackson on November 19th, 2012 11:47 am

    The fare schedule posted on the ECAT web site ranges from 85 cents to $1.75. Passes for weeks or multiple rides are similarly cheap. Seems an increase is due.

  7. sniper on November 19th, 2012 8:08 am

    with gas prices falling…shouldn’t the operation costs fall also?

  8. Duke of Wawbeek on November 19th, 2012 6:55 am

    Let them ride bicycles.

  9. smokey on November 19th, 2012 6:21 am

    @ richard,we’re going to have to tax your 10 cent worth to pay for your heart.

  10. Jane on November 19th, 2012 5:02 am

    No one said they were going to Atmore…I believe it was “Alabama”…and that means other places besides Atmore! Raising taxes…the middle class is being taxed with sales, gas and property taxes, not to mention the IRS. That means less “disposable ” income, less money for people to buy things= less money for businesses. The northend doesn’t even use ECAT because it doesn’t come out here often enough to be useful. Why should the whole county pay for something used in Pensacola?

  11. say what on November 18th, 2012 10:43 pm

    It’s unfair to the whole county.

  12. Richard on November 18th, 2012 8:35 pm

    Here is my 10 cent worth. 4 cent increase for me is about 80.00 dollars a year about 1.53 per week. I don’t mind helping others and we all should look at it that way. All of you look at your gas usage to see what it would cost you. You may find it a small amount. Some people need this transportation and think if you needed it, it would be there for you. I know that gas prices are already high, but what’s 4 more cents. I will tell you what it is. It is someone on min wage or a fixed income. It is a disabled vet or an elderly person needing to get somewhere. People have a heart.

  13. Sara everly on November 18th, 2012 7:16 pm

    ECAT Does not come to Beulah….at anytime of the day.

  14. smokey on November 18th, 2012 6:44 pm

    Why not have the meeting when the people who really don’t care for this tax can be there? Because they got to go to work so they can pay bills and buy gas for thierselves. How convenient.

  15. ben on November 18th, 2012 5:41 pm

    Only a complete idiot would’ve suggested this, & only a few more idiots would vote for this to happen. We working folks are tired of this crap!!!!

  16. TM on November 18th, 2012 12:18 pm

    I have yo agree with David Greens position. William, you didn”t build this web site. you must give the government its due for
    building the early internet. you must give the government its due for the roads you travel to conduct your business. you must give the government its due for providing you with a proper education so you know how to do what you do.
    Tongue in cheek of course.

  17. Atmoron on November 18th, 2012 12:14 pm

    Everybody that talks about coming to Alabama to buy gas must not be checking prices because it is ALWAYS cheaper in Molino and Cantonment than in Atmore.

    So according to the tax comparison somebody’s making a good profit.

  18. soggy bob on November 18th, 2012 11:24 am

    I will not buy gas in Escambia. I will drive to Pace.
    @ things these GOB crooks can never do.
    1 They can never make me forget what theyb are doing.
    @ They can never make me buy gas in Escambia.
    I give them my solem word he, I NEVER will.

  19. Jeanne on November 18th, 2012 10:46 am

    A better solution would be to cut spending. (uh duh) Get rid of 2 or 3 bus routes.

  20. Working poor on November 18th, 2012 9:53 am

    It is unfair to everyone who took responsibility to purchase a car and carry insurance on their car. When the insurance rates goes up the owners of these auto had to make adjustments in their spending habits. When the cost of fuel went up the owners had to make more adjustment. Now ECAT is trying to get more money to fund their operations to ( benefit their riders ). Here are a few simple solutions. 1 raise the price of the bus tickets add a surcharge to ride. 2 cut back on some of the routes traveled. 3 don’t buy anymore new buses for 5 years. 4 no free trolley rides beaches and uwf, charge $1 to ride.6 Shorten the business hours that will cut back on payroll, most companies do it when things get financially tough. These are just a few suggestions.

  21. David Huie Green on November 18th, 2012 9:43 am

    “I still fail to understand why I must fund – - – a school system when my youngest has been out of school for 15 years.”

    It’s real simple. You are still using the school system.

    It is educating the nurse who will treat you when you get sick. It is educating the person driving the car toward you on the road, the person who mixes your medicine, cooks your food when you eat out, builds the road you drive on.

    In fact every interaction you have with anyone else is benefiting to some degree with the education they received from the school system. And it will educate your grand children and neighbors if they will just listen. It probably played a part in William’s ability to produce this site.

    You benefit greatly.

    David for good value

  22. Walnut Hill Roy on November 18th, 2012 8:40 am

    I still fail to understand why I must fund a bus system that never comes to Walnut Hill (not that i would use it if it did) and a school system when my youngest has been out of school for 15 years. It seems like the only answer that the politicians have is to raise taxes.

    If it is true that this important vote is being taken during a lame duck session when some of the politicians will not return; that is a travesty that needs to be rectified somehow.

  23. KLW on November 18th, 2012 8:20 am

    The problem here is that we could all go down there, to the commission meeting, and pretty much beg every idiot on that board to not increase any type of tax and guess where we are going to get….absolutely nowhere!!! You want to know why….its simple, there isn’t a person on that commission including Kevin that cares anything about me, you or any other citizen of this county!! It’s all about the dirtbags way and the heck with everyone else. It was nice to hear Kevin refer to his job, as buying a new boat and how when you sold it, you were glad it was gone. Maybe if we taxed the commission and their salary for gas and ECAT, the rest of us could afford to go buy a boat, like Kevin! Good luck Century with trying to divert this vote but like I said, we mean absolutely nothing to the Escambia County Commission!!!

  24. SHH on November 18th, 2012 7:58 am

    Why in the world should people who buy gas pay for those who do not?!?! Government at its best…

  25. trouble on November 18th, 2012 7:43 am

    I am at work at the time this meeting will be held. I can’t just take the day off I will lose a days pay. The bus still will not be coming by my house if they raise the tax ! The people who use the service should pay more,not me. I understand a lot of older people use this service, can’t you use a van instead of a big bus? I know some vans can hold up to 8 people. The VA has a van to help get people, why doesn’t the county check on this.They don’t have to buy BRAND NEW they can do like a lot of people and buy second hand. The county has mecanics already on duty use them to fix a brake down. STOP TAKING MY HARD EARNED MONEY!!!

  26. Fred on November 18th, 2012 7:15 am

    How about shutting down ECAT and using the money it saves to fund community transport. I see those vans driving around just as empty as the busses. By the way does’nt anyone question where 6.9 MILLION tax dollars plus money generated by fares is spent on this under used service?

  27. Jane on November 18th, 2012 6:56 am

    Maybe i will just drive over to Alabama to get my gas if they raise taxes here. I can save the money for the next thing they decide to raise taxes on! We need to make budget cuts, not raise taxes. No wonder businesses go to Alabama instead of here!

  28. Maggie Jackson on November 18th, 2012 6:31 am

    ECAT is a money pit and serves a small percentage of Escambia County citizens. If the County cannot find the money somewhere in the budget to keep these buses running…….they should discontinue the service. I know fuel prices are volatile now, but does the county not have a contract with a fuel company to keep it’s fleet of vehicles on the road?

  29. Friction against the machine on November 18th, 2012 6:28 am

    Atmore raised taxes with 0 public input…buried it in the back of a city council meeting agenda…that’s how you do it Escambia County…got to be slick about it; not announce you thinking about it. In these times of woe and want, when gas prices are hamstringing our economy, it shows how out of touch these politicians really are.

  30. Waterlady501 on November 18th, 2012 6:08 am

    This is politics at its worst. The proposed tax increase was pushed by an outgoing county commissioner. The tax increase could possibly be voted on during that meeting by the current county commission, even though for some of them, their term in office ends the same day. Further, the special called meeting set by the county commission is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Monday. Unless you happen to work shift work, most employed people will be working at that time. That alone tells you how interested the county commissioners are in hearing the voice of the people on this subject.

  31. Jimmy on November 18th, 2012 1:09 am

    Raise Taxes. That seems to be the only solution to the problems of today. From the Federal Government to the local governments. Escambia County, Florida is looking at raising the gas tax. The City of Brewton is going to raise sales tax from 8 to 9 percent in January. At least Florida still has NO taxes on food. Yet. I am glad Century is standing up to the county commissioners even though I think they will loose the fight.

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