City council floats idea of allowing voters to decide on gas tax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The proposal to double the gas tax in Duval County is raising some concerns, not only with motorists but with members of the Jacksonville City Council. Now, some members want to let the public vote on the issue.

Those concerns were part of the discussion Thursday during a special city council meeting.

The council is being asked by Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to raise the local gas tax from 6 cents a gallon to 12 cents a gallon.

Several council members, including Aaron Bowman, said during the meeting Thursday that most constituents don’t support the tax increase.

“I can honestly tell you I got zero emails and calls supporting this initiative,” Bowman said. ” Why are we thinking we want to put the pressure on 19 on us [councilmembers] for this gas tax when we can go to the voters with a referendum and ask them, can you afford this? Is this the right thing to do?”

Besides Bowman, council members LeAnna Cumber, Al Ferraro, Joyce Morgan and Danny Becton said they would back a referendum if it were proposed.

Mayor Curry spoke to the council before the debate over a referendum was brought up, but it was his chief of staff Jordan Elsbury that answered those concerns.

“The mayor and the city council has been put in office to make difficult decisions. That is what this is,” Elsbury said.

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