Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco cities balk at supporting county on gas tax increase

LAND O'LAKES — Officials from Pasco County's six cities say they won't back a county proposal to increase gas taxes by 5 cents a gallon because, as one put it, "they're getting a big amount of money out of this, but we're getting nothing."

"I see no benefit to any of the cities to go along with this," Zephyrhills City Council member Charlie Proctor said.

The rebuke was one of several during a meeting last week of the Municipal Association of Pasco, or MAP. Officials gathered to consider whether to support Pasco's proposed local-option gas tax ahead of a public hearing this week in Dade City. Instead of backing it, they passed a resolution opposing it.

Several reasons were cited. For one, the county's proposal allocates little to cities for road maintenance while granting millions in annual tax revenue to the county.

The county's share — if the full 5-cent measure is passed — is estimated at $8.1 million yearly. The cities, meanwhile, would get allotments from $1,000 (St. Leo) to $317,000 (New Port Richey).

The issue comes as the county and cities are already locked in a dispute about how Pasco distributes gas taxes.

In June, the sides argued over a county plan to restructure the allotments that would give a boost to the county while decreasing what the cities have received since 1985. Together, the cities stood to lose $730,000 a year.

After a meeting, however, the county held off with a promise to revisit the allotment question next summer.

Now city officials say they can hardly be expected to support a second gas tax while the allotment issue remains unresolved.

Another hurdle is the tax itself, which if passed could hurt seniors and low-income families and spark a voter backlash, officials said.

"I think what we've got to think about is the people we represent," said Richard Gates, a San Antonio commissioner. "How many of them do you think would vote yes? I don't know of one in my city that would support the tax."

The officials debated the issue for an hour and a half.

Their decision to oppose raising the tax is mostly symbolic and isn't binding on county commissioners, who hold the authority to enact it.

But the city officials said they hoped passing the resolution might sway enough county commissioners to vote against it. Approving the measure will require votes from four of the five commissioners and at least one, Commissioner Jack Mariano, has spoken out against the increase.

Still, not everyone disputes the tax. Last week, Pasco's Economic Development Council passed a resolution supporting the levy, saying it will help businesses and encourage companies to move to Pasco. The revenue is needed for road improvements, it said.

"It's a no-brainer that we need the gas tax," said Trey Starkey, chairman of the EDC's board of directors. "The commission needs to understand that we're talking about essential services here."

In addition to the gas tax hearing Tuesday, commissioners will hold the first of two hearings on whether to raise property taxes next year.

Rich Shopes can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

>> If you go

Public hearing

County commissioners will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Dade City for a public hearing about the proposed gas tax increase.

Commissioners can vote to reject the proposal, enact a 5-cent-per-gallon increase or trim the proposal to a lesser amount. If commissioners support the tax at the full 5 cents, the county's take would come to $8.1 million yearly. Among Pasco's municipalities, New Port Richey would receive the largest allotment at $317,000 a year, followed by Dade City at $97,000, Zephyrhills at $37,000, Port Richey at $14,000, San Antonio at $12,000 and St. Leo at $1,000.

Also Tuesday, county commissioners will hold a public hearing about a proposed property tax increase.

Pasco cities balk at supporting county on gas tax increase 09/08/13 [Last modified: Sunday, September 8, 2013 8:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Even presidents get sinkholes: One has formed at Trump's Mar-a-Lago

    Bizarre News

    Even presidential mansions are susceptible to sinkholes — especially if they're in Florida.

    A sinkhole has formed in front of President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in south Florida.
  2. Every Little Thing podcast
  3. Goodbye Tampa Bay Express, hello Tampa Bay Next; but toll lanes aren't going anywhere


    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    But it's replacement — Tampa Bay Next — will likely include many of the same projects, including express toll lanes on the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. DOT officials say there are still re-evaluating the most controversial aspect of the old TBX plan: spend $6 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area highways - Interstates 4,75 and 275 - that are currently free of tolls. But TBN will keep the plan to add express toll lanes to the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  4. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as place to live and build a career.

    Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]
  5. Column: Trump beat Bush, Rubio but has become an 'establishment sellout'


    NYT’s Ross Douthat's Sunday column: Donald Trump, Establishment Sellout