Selma, AL (WSFA) - In less than two weeks the Selma City Council is going to vote on an ordinance for a 5-cent gas tax increase. Mayor Darrio Melton recommended the increase.
“I am excited to know that the council is taking the needs of the city seriously," said Melton.
There are many roads in Selma riddled with pot holes. Our crews found pot holes at the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Washington Street, and in one neighborhood the pot hole was inches deep.
“Streets have been caving in since before I got into office and since I have been in office. The city is in need of repair, re-surfacing, and re-striping. Many streets have not been resurfaced in over 20-plus years,” said Melton.
Melton believes the increase in gasoline tax could help solve the issues the city has faced with the aging infrastructure.
“That money would bring in roughly $800,000. It would strictly go towards re-paving and re-surfacing. We want to use that money to target that specific purpose. It is written in the ordinance, so people can see, the money is earmarked for that purpose only. We couldn’t do anything else with those funds," said Melton.
On Tuesday, a first reading was approved by the council in regards to the 5-cent gas tax increase ordinance. The council also approved the first reading for a 3-cent gas tax increase. The 3-cent would only be voted on if the 5-cent wasn’t passed.
“I am satisfied with any resources we can get now. I would love the 5-cent, I think we could do more, but the 3-cent would actually help us to at least do something," said Melton.
Within the next two weeks Selma City Council President Corey Bowie said the council will assess and engage the community.
“It is important we hear all the concerns before we make our final decision to move forward. We are looking at having another public works committee meeting to allow citizens to come forth with their input,” said Bowie.
Bowie said with the state also contemplating a gas tax increase, he expects it to be a heated issue among residents.
“The bottom line is we have to make sure we address our needs here in Selma,” said Bowie.
Both Bowie and Melton agree fixing the aging infrastructure could will have a positive impact on the city.
“It helps with not only economic development, but also attracting new industries to the city of Selma.”
The mayor said the last time the gas tax was increased in Selma was 1986. The gas tax for Selma is currently at 4 cent.
“Selma is the first city that initiated the local gas tax in 1927. People say, ‘Why is Selma jumping up so high at one time?’ We were the pioneers of this. It is needed. We are the second oldest city,” said Melton.
That vote is expected to take place at the next council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26.