New controversy surrounds Marion County gas tax

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. - There's some new controversy in Marion County over the county's gas tax.

For the last 30 years, Marion County officials divided the funds from the tax across the five cities, but Channel 9 learned that could soon change, and the smaller cities could get next to nothing.

Officials said the local taxes on fuel top $25 million a year.

The city of Belleview has barely 5,000 residents, and Mayor Christine Dobkowski worries that Marion County will keep a larger share of the city’s gasoline taxes.

 “It is incredibly important for us,” said Dobkowski. “It would be a major blow for our city if we lose that amount of revenue. We anticipate losing half our gas tax revenue, which is about $250,000."

A 30-year deal between the county and the five cities in the county to share the money expires this year, and some county staff members recommend the cities get a smaller portion.

Dobkowski said she can prove her city has spent its share wisely, and she hopes that will go a long way with how the money will soon be divided.

“Hopefully, when the county commissioners themselves, not just their staff, see that we have used it very responsibly, they’ll continue to let us make the decisions on how that gas tax revenue is being spent,” she said.

Representatives from the five cities will meet with the county commission Thursday afternoon to negotiate a new deal.