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.