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Port Orange Observer Tuesday, May 15, 2018 4 months ago

City council votes against interlocal agreement for fuel tax distribution formula

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Previously, Port Orange did not sign the 2013 extension.
by: Nichole Osinski Community Editor

In 2003, Volusia County and the cities within Volusia approved an interlocal agreement for a distribution formula for a five- and six-cent local option fuel tax for each gallon of motor fuel sold within the county. 

However, on Tuesday, May 15, City Council voted 5-0 against that interlocal agreement for distribution of the local option fuel tax.  

Councilman Bob Ford voiced his frustration over the way the money was distributed and that the county and municipalities had voted for this. 

"What they've done is so odious I will vote against it ...we lost big time on this," Ford said, adding, "What we lost they gained ... there's absolutely no rationale for the distribution of money other than they didn't give it to us and they took it."

Through the distribution formula, which has not changed since 2003, Port Orange received 5.017% of the first $22,170,519.32 distributed. However, if the annual collection exceeds $22,170,519.32, the county will receive 57.239% and the cities will split the remaining 42.761% based on population, property value and lane miles.

The agreement was renewed in 2013 for an additional five years and will once again expire on Aug. 31 of this year. Port Orange was the only participating city that did not sign the 2013 extension. According to Tuesday's agenda report, "if the population in the cities that sign the interlocal includes a majority of the county residents, then the interlocal goes into effect anyway and the dissenting city participates by default."

According to City Manager Jake Johansson, if enough cities don't agree on a formula to where the majority of the county population would not be covered under the interlocal then the formula reverts to the state formula, which is based on the percentage of roadway expenditures. This would be based on a timeframe of the following five fiscal years.

"Cities with the majority population have to sign the interlocal agreement for it to be adopted for the last five years and our rough figuring estimates that we might lose around $500,000 if we revert back to the state formula," Johanson said.  "So we think interlocal benefits us to the tune of about $500,000 over the default."

Johansson said that the city managers had previously met and decided that it would be in the best interest of most of the cities to approve the interlocal agreement for the following year and look at restructuring, or at least the options for restructuring, next year. 

However, in addition to Ford, there was still more opposition to the formula. 

"It doesn't benefit us the way it should," Mayor Don Burnette said, adding, "The problem is we lost a long long time ago."

City attorney evaluation 

During Tuesday's meeting, City Attorney Margaret Roberts told the council that in regards to her performance evaluation she would like to have a short conversation to identify areas to emphasize in order to set targets. 

"I'll then follow up with an evaluation form for you and a self-evaluation that can go along with that," Roberts said. "Then we can set some individual conferences to talk about the evaluation then we'll schedule it for a city council meeting to round it up." 

City Council has the evaluation in May. 

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