A 3-cent increase on Eufaula’s Gasoline and Motor Fuel License Tax was approved by the Eufaula City Council on Monday by a 3-2 vote.
Several citizens voiced their opinions both for and against the tax increase. The monies from the tax increase are to be earmarked for the paving of roads in need in the city.
Linda Grice, Lucious Cobbs and Johnny Knight voted for the tax increase, while Tony Robertson and Barbara Flurry voted against it. The increase will be from 6 cents to 9 cents per gallon beginning May 1.
A common argument for the tax increase to improve some roads regarded home values. In fact, some Realtors said once prospective clients saw such terrible roads as Hunters Inlet they were no longer interested.
“The last thing anybody wants to do is raise taxes,” Mayor Jack Tibbs said. “But seven years ago we were faced with pretty much every artery in the city in need of repair. We fixed about 60-70 streets.
“One street was paved and someone said the road had the original paving on it from 1962.”
Public Works Director Tim Brannan has identified $2.3 million of repair is needed on about 90 percent of Eufaula’s streets. Tibbs said those would cost about $1 million over the next seven years just patching them.
“We cannot keep putting this stuff off,” Tibbs said. “We’re trying to get the city looking progressive. When we do it and it’s all paid for, we can take (the tax increase) off.”
In other business:
Tibbs said that Major League Fishing, with “all the top fishermen in the country,” would be in town beginning Tuesday (Feb. 4). “They will be here for eight days, six days of competitive fishing,” Tibbs said. “I believe they will produce three 2 ½-hour shows while here. Sales tax is our biggest revenue stream for the city. This will be very good for the local economy.
“There will be a thing for Veterans and First Responders on Sunday. They are also working with the churches and high school events. It will also broadcast live on Facebook for nine hours a day for six days and it will be shown all over the United States.”
The council agreed to establish a monthly salary for both the mayor and council members.
Tibbs has been working on a $30,000 salary, but will make $41,500 per year ($3,458.34 per month) beginning Nov. 2. The five members of the city council, which had been making $500 per month, will make $600 per month beginning Nov. 2. There has not been a raise since 1996.
Eufaula resident Sharon Matherne addressed the council regarding the proposed pay increase and said, “I see a difference in our city and a lot of hard work because of the mayor’s leadership. It’s time (for the raise.”
Tibbs noted that the recent $280,000 grant from Gov. Kay Ivey will pave Lakepoint Industrial Park. Tibbs also said that he and Economic Development Director Phil Clayton would be visiting a prospect in Oregon soon regarding a possible 30,000-sqaure foot facility that would bring as many as 1000 jobs to Eufaula.
American Buildings will be handling the construction of the two corporate hangers at Weedon Field.
Only one bid was returned for the jail meals from local restaurants. Board President Johnny Knight said the best thing the city could do was re-bid the project.
Chris Dollar was reappointed to a four-year term as a member of the Southeast Solid Waste Authority board.