Pennies at the Pump

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The penny per gallon gas tax for unincorporated Bay County passed four to one at the Bay County Commission Tuesday morning.

Chairman George Gainer says the additional cent will help an already struggling road system.

"I'm committed to spend this money in areas where people have been paying taxes for years and wondering why their road can't be paved or properly maintained."

According to state law, the money earned from the penny tax is earmarked specifically for the maintenance of existing roads in the county.

Mary Dayton with the county finance office says the money will be used for drainage, street lighting, traffic signs along with paying off expenses for previous projects.

"This tax will be for the county and would be put in our Transportation Fund 101 and would help alleviate some of the transfers from the general fund to support the transportation fund."

But not all of the commissioners agreed a gas tax was the best option for road maintenance. Commissioner Bill Dozier says he made a campaign promise not to use taxes unless all other options were exhausted.

"Before I raise taxes I want to make sure that I've looked everywhere, I've turned over every stone to make sure that we don't leave anything out."

The county staff says the pennies will total about $887,000 in annual revenue for the county. The tax will go into effect January 1 of next year.