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Friday, the Colbert County Commission passed a resolution that would allow them to implement a three cent fuel tax increase, but this is just the first step in the process and now it will go to legislators.
The resolution passed in a 5 to 1 vote. It will now be up to law makers in Montgomery to introduce a bill exclusively for Colbert County giving the commission full reign to vote on the three cent fuel tax increase.
"I think we already have enough taxes as it is," said Colbert County citizen Edward Bowman.
Bowman sat in on the county commission meeting where they passed a resolution, for the possibility of voting on a three cent per gallon fuel tax increase. To Bowman it felt like a slap in the face.
"I know several family members that can't afford it. They put in five dollars in their gas tanks because they can't afford to put ten dollars in to make it to their jobs," said Bowman.
If the fuel tax is increased it could bring in $1.5 million annually just to maintain Colbert County roadways. Cities like Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia could get 20% of that to fix their roads.
"We're starting to lose them. I am seeing deterioration I can't keep up with. This is all about trying to maintain the roads that we have got," said Colbert County Road Engineer, John Bedford.
Bedford told WAAY 31 they should be spending a little less than $3.5 million a year to maintain roads and bridges, but their current tax revenue is about $2.2 million. He said the fuel tax increase is vital.
"Those roads are deteriorating to the point where we are going to have to call in contractors to rip the roads up, or come in there and level with three or four inches where it will cost us four to five times more to get them back to where they were," said Bedford. "Where we could have just maintained them."
Other citizens at the meeting tell us they would gladly pay an extra three cents at the pump.
"Yeah I support it," said Colbert County citizen, Darryl Swindle. "Taxation is a necessary evil we gotta have it to enjoy the quality of life that we have today."
Even if the bill is passed by lawmakers the county commission will have to vote on the increase, which could be months from now depending on how quickly lawmakers get to the bill in the 2018 session.
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