MADISON, Ala. – Could a three cent gas tax increase be coming to the residents of Madison? Councilman Mike Potter says the city is in dire need of a steady income for road maintenance and he’s proposing an increase in the current two cent gas tax.
Monday night community members gave their two cents on the proposal. Concerned citizens gathered to discuss the reasons behind the tax proposal. Madison's growth has placed deteriorating road conditions in the fast lane and now the city needs a plan in place to help repair the roads.
"We have to plan better and to do that you need a constant source of revenue that's earmarked," said Madison City Council Member, Mike Potter.
He suggests raising the tax to five cents per gallon. The current tax brings in roughly $300,000 a year. However the city spends roughly one million dollars a year on maintenance and repairs.
"You know, two-thirds of the dollars we spend on road maintenance a year are coming out of the general fund," said Potter.
A five cent tax would secure more than $600,000 a year. The city maintains nearly 75 miles of main arteries throughout the growing city. That tax revenue is responsible for row mowing, traffic signals, street lights and general road repair.
Some residents at the meeting were understanding of the dire need for increased funds, others are slamming the brakes on the proposal.
"It will not do any good,” stated Madison resident, Betty Jones. “I understand what they are trying to do but they are putting a bandage on a problem."
Betty Jones has lived in the city for 16 years and she believes city finances have been astray.
"We have overgrown the infrastructure,” said Jones. “I understand that we somehow need to do something with them but I don't think this is the answer."
The road this gas tax will take is still to be determined but ultimately something long-term must be done to keep up with growth.
"We're not hiding anything and we're telling it like it is," said Potter.
From here, the proposal will have a first reading at the next city council meeting. If passed, it would go to vote the following meeting.