Cities Will Receive Less Money From Gas Taxes
A dispute over how to divvy up three gas taxes means five cities may have to put the brakes on planned road projects.
After months of trying to reach an agreement with their municipalities, Marion County Commissioners decided how to split gas taxes.
Since the county and municipalities could not reach an interlocal agreement, the state of Florida requires the county to use a default formula.
A solution that many city representatives are not satisfied with.
"The decision is disappointing," said Ocala City Manager Matthew Brower.
Knowing that the city of Ocala will not receive the same amount of money from local gas taxes as in previous years.
"We had spent a significant amount of time working with the county staff and their elected officials on identifying multiple alternatives that could have been used," said Brower.
In most cases, the city of Ocala, Belleview, Dunnellon, Reddick and McIntosh use the gas tax money for road and transportation projects.
One is for five cents a gallon, another for six cents and a third for about a penny a gallon.
Below are the current gas tax distribution rates for each municipality and the county. As well as the rates for when the default formula is put in place.
Every municipality will receive less money, but Marion County will receive about 10 percent more.
"We do not have any immediate impact on our budget. We simply had projects that were in our future plans that we are going to have to perhaps push those back and try to come up with other funding venues," said Christine Dobkowski who is the Mayor of Belleview.
During Tuesdays meeting, county commissioners voted unanimously to use the state default formula for the five and six cent gas taxes.
"Is really based on the transportation expenditures which we believe is fair to everyone involved," said Assitant County Administrator Mounir Bouyounes.
County leaders also decided not to share the penny a gallon tax, which they had in the past.
Bouyounes said the county is giving the municipalities three years to adapt.
"Doing a transition phase will help the cities adjust to the new revenues that they will be getting from the gas tax," said Bouyounes.
"Had they gone directly to state level next year it would've been a, as I told them today, a death-knell for the city. We probably would've lost our roads and street department," said Nathan Whitt who is the Mayor of Dunnellon.
Whitt said the extra three years will help him come up with a plan for his city.
"We can start to work on a general fund that could supplement the loss, I am hoping," said Whitt.
After the three years transition period, municipalities can submit road projects to the county.
Then county officials will decide if there is enough money to fund those proposed projects.
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