Urbana council votes to raise gas tax
URBANA — Giving no comment before the vote, city council members on Monday night approved of Mayor Laurel Prussing's plan to raise the city gas tax from 2.4 to 4 cents per gallon.
The change will be effective in July. Council members voted 5-2 on Monday and gave most of their comments in a discussion last week.
The lack of discussion was two-sided — no residents or business owners wished to comment when the ordinance was called.
The gas tax was scheduled to rise to 2.8 cents in July anyway. That built-in increase was approved when council members first implemented the gas tax in 2010.
But Monday's approval will bump the rate to 4 cents per gallon, which Prussing has said will provide more funds to fix ailing city roads. The rate matches the new gas tax that became effective in Champaign this month.
Alderwomen Diane Marlin, D-Ward 7, and Heather Stevenson, R-Ward 6, voted against the tax increase. Last week, Marlin said she felt the city had raised taxes and fees enough.
The gas tax is expected to bring in $736,000 annually for city road projects. Prior to Monday night's meeting, Public Works Director Bill Gray sent a memo to council members listing $2.2 million worth of projects that the local gas tax might pay for.
Included on that list is a half-million-dollar project on Race Street between Washington Street and Michigan Avenue, which runs along the east side of Urbana High School.
The money could also support an estimated $350,000 project on Broadway Avenue between Illinois and Washington streets, which is directly north of the high school.