Brevard commissioners table proposal for gas tax increase

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A Brevard County commissioner made a pitch at a meeting Thursday that could cost drivers more to fill up at the pump, but after a heated discussion, leaders decided to table the issue.

Commissioner Jim Barfield wants a 6-cent gas tax increase to better maintain county roads.

Channel 9's Melonie Holt spoke with the five county commissioners about the issue Thursday and learned that Barfield should have enough votes to keep the discussion alive.

Barfield said the $7.7 million generated each year would help the county keep up with road resurfacing and maintenance.

But before commissioners could consider making a move to collect more local gas taxes, they first have to clear the way for county staff to draft an ordinance and hold public hearings.

"I think it could be looked at, especially since gas prices are down. Good roads are important for safety," driver Duane Gehring said.

Commissioner Robin Fisher was ready to keep talking about the proposal, along with Barfield.

Commissioner Trudie Infantini said she is opposed to the tax, while Commissioner Curt Smith told Holt he'd like to table the proposal to allow time for workshops.

Commissioner Andy Anderson said that while not a fan of more gas taxes, he is willing to ask the public, who have a lot more questions for commissioners.

Residents spoke out against the plan.

“You are not elected to raise our taxes. You are hired to manage within the given budget,” said a resident.

Tensions rose between commissioners.

“Wants are wants, needs are needs. I think a number of people have said that tonight,” said Smith.

“Let’s stop screwing around with it and either bite the bullet, or wait until I get out of office and do it. I don’t need it, I mean (expletive),” said Fisher.

Commissioners decided to table the proposal for further analysis.

They agreed to schedule up to two workshops to look at their options, with a decision expected in February.

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