Potter to withdraw proposal to increase gasoline tax

City Councilman Mike Potter plans to remove his proposal for a gasoline tax increase for Madison. CONTRIBUTED
City Councilman Mike Potter plans to remove his proposal for a gasoline tax increase for Madison. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – District 4 Councilman Mike Potter plans to withdraw his proposal to raise the local gasoline tax at Madison City Council’s meeting on April 25.

At the April 11 council meeting, Potter presented an ordinance to raise gasoline tax from 2 to 5 cents.

Potter reconsidered his plan after a discussion with Councilman Steve Smith. “I had a great dialogue with (Steve) about the state of our midyear budget. We have kept our general fund expenses to bare bones,” Potter said.

“We have improved our sales tax revenue because people are shopping more in Madison, and we have gained more retail businesses as we improve our infrastructure,” Potter said.

“In our midterm budget adjustment, the Finance Committee was able to move $500,000 into a road maintenance budget line. And if things continue in a positive trend, which I believe we can do, we should be able to keep that up. Hence, I plan to withdraw my ordinance Monday,” he said.

“We accept roads/infrastructure into maintenance, yet we had no mechanism in place to ensure there was a funding stream to repair and maintain them over time as they deteriorate,” Potter said.

He compared the approach to a parent accepting responsibility for children but dealing with significant expenses, like college, on a crisis basis. “The gas tax proposal to me was a vehicle within the authority of council to correct this and establish a steady source of funding for collector road maintenance,” Potter said.

“Today, I believe we no longer need this ordinance to support collector road maintenance. We should be able to do it in the general fund budget,” he said.

His commitment to maintaining collector and neighborhood roads remains firm. “I believe it’s in our best interests to do infrastructure maintenance projects that the city controls and pay for them with ‘then-year’ dollars and not borrowed money,” Potter said. “We should use borrowed money (bonds) for large, longer-term projects.”

The Finance Committee with council representatives Smith, Ronica Ondocsin and D.J. Klein and department heads have put that philosophy into practice, Potter said. “It’s now showing tangible results. That’s why it is now possible to support collector road maintenance with the general fund. As long as this is possible, there’s no real need for a gas tax increase at this time.”

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