Nassau County Commission enacts 5-cent gas tax

Contact:  Sabrina Robertson
Office of Nassau County Administrator
from www.TheNassauCountyInsider.com
August 23, 2018 — 8:00 .m.

[FO  note:  This tax becomes effective January 1, 2019]

As many of you are aware, on August 13, 2018, the Board of Nassau County Commissioners approved an Ordinance that would allow for collection of an additional $.05 per gallon of unleaded gas sold in Nassau County. (As set forth by law, local option fuel taxes are not applicable to diesel fuel) This tax will generate approximately $1.9 million in revenue Countywide, with $1.7 million going to Nassau County and the remaining $200,000 being split among the City of Fernandina Beach, Town of Hilliard, and Town of Callahan, based on history of road expenditures. While a portion of ad valorem taxes the County collects from property taxes is allocated to the road and engineering departments, the current level provides funds needed for basic maintenance of existing roads, leaving very little left over for capital road projects such as construction of new roads, paving dirt roads, or major resurfacing projects.

While not an easy decision, the Board moved forward with the Local Option Fuel Tax because it would provide a guaranteed funding source that can be used annually to address the many road issues throughout the County. Florida Statute, Chapter 336.025, mandates that funds collected be solely used for construction of new roads, the reconstruction or resurfacing of existing paved roads, or the repaving of existing roads to increase road capacity. It cannot be used for routine maintenance, or to cover any other type of service or debt of the Board.

Additionally, the Board was looking for a funding mechanism that wouldn’t fall solely on property owners through an ad valorem tax. Though not everyone is a property owner that contributes to the tax base, every person residing here utilizes the County roads and contributes to the wear and tear of the surface. To this point, by passing this local option Fuel Tax, the Board lowered the proposed millage rate increase in attempt to shift the financial burden so it doesn’t fall solely on taxpayers. Furthermore, a large portion of gas sold is purchased by visitors to Nassau County. According to a document from Visa Vue Travel obtained by the Tourist Development Council, 441,426 visitors spent $17,163,295 on fuel east of I-95 in 2017. This does not include gas purchased on the west side of the County or purchased by other methods such as cash, American Express, Master Card, etc. Through this tax, the County will receive  revenue from tourists that don’t contribute to the tax base, but contribute to the breakdown of the road surfaces.

To put the results of this ordinance in context, a 20 gallon tank vehicle, that was completely empty at the time of fill up, would cost the average user an additional $1 at the pump. If you assume this vehicle is filled up once per week, then the total approximate annual cost to the average user would be $52 for the year.

Should you have any concerns or questions, please contact the Office of Management & Budget or the County Manager’s Office at (904) 530-6010.

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