Brevard County Commissioners Vote To Hold Workshops To Solve Roadway Issues
By Kathy Reakes // November 6, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – A proposal by County Commission Vice Chair Jim Barfield to raise local gas taxes by 6 cents a gallon to help pay for the county’s aging roadways, was met with huge resistance on Thursday night from taxpayers during a meeting to discuss the issue at the government center in Viera.
Crowds packed the meeting to hear the County officials say current funding would allow for the resurfacing of about eight miles of roads a year; the county’s target is to resurface 55 miles a year, a level that would allow for all of the county’s roads to be resurfaced during a 20-year rotation.
Residents in green “American’s for Prosperity” T-shirts filled the commission chambers to express their displeasure with the way the county’s money is being spent, and demanding that commissioners find another way to pay for roadway improvements.
The proposal, which would have raised about $11.6 million a year for Brevard County, would help the county catch up on its current backlog of more than 280 miles of roads in need of work.
The proposal offered two categories of gas taxes: a 1-cent-a-gallon tax and increasing the local option gas tax by 5 cents a gallon. Together, they would raise about $7.77 million a year for the county and about $3.82 million for the county’s cities and towns.
After more than three hours of contentious public discussion, with 35 residents addressing the commission, commissioners voted unanimously to hold a series of workshops to help solve the roadway issues by Feb. 1, 2016.
The workshops, which will include members of the public, public officials, and county officials, will allow for an in-depth analysis of the county budget and the road issues to determine what the best approach would be.
County Commissioner Trudie Infantini, who is against the proposal, suggested that Barfield should spend more time looking for ways to cut the budget, than worrying about what people are saying about his suggestions.
County Commission Chairman Robin Fisher agreed to the round of workshops, but expressed his frustration by telling his fellow commissioners: “let’s stop screwing around” and find a solution to this problem.