Jeremy's Notebook

City on Board with ECAT Funding

March 28, 2013

city councilThe Pensacola City Council unanimously approved a mass transit interlocal between the city and Escambia County during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

The interlocal provides that Escambia can have the city’s portion of a 4-cent gas tax—estimated in the $700,000 neighborhood—that county commissioners levied last fall with the intention of fully funding the Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) system. When approving the interlocal, council members expressed a desire for an additional seat on the county’s Mass Transit Advisory Committee.

Currently, the city is granted one seat on the committee; the council would like to see it increased to two. Interim County Administrator George Touart told council he would relay their request to the Escambia County Commission.

The gas tax interlocal agreement was a labored process. At various times, city council members expressed support for releasing the tax to fund mass transit, and administration officials contended the proceeds might could be put to better use funding economic development efforts at the Pensacola International Airport.

During a county commission meeting last week, Touart had complained about the difficulty he was having working through the ECAT interlocal, as well as an agreement concerning the library system, with the city. Appearing before the city council on Monday, the county administrator chalked his earlier remarks up as “satirical” and stressed his good relationship with the city administrator.

“Bill Reynolds and I work very closely together,” Touart told the council.

The Pensacola City Council meets for its regular meeting today at 5:30 p.m. at Pensacola City Hall.

You Might Also Like

  • jeeperman March 29, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Highjacking of any county tax, be it property tax or gas tax or any other tax is theft. See you in court bozo’s.

    The city should have no seats on the Mass Transit Advisory Committee. The city does not contribute any funds to ECAT, so why should there be any city reps on the Mass Transit Advisory Committee?.

  • CJ Lewis March 29, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Very unexplainably, as if they were in a rush to get to a fire or be first in line at an estate sale this morning, the City Council last night very hurriedly rushed to approve the Interlocal Agreement that only provides for one City appointee to Escambia County’s Mass Transit Advisory Committee.

    Only the Pensacola City Council habitually negotiates with others to include Mayor Hayward from a position of extreme weakness. Although the Board of County Commissioners might yield to this new demand from the City Council, there is always a chance that it might not. Betting on the come – the City Council’s usual mindset – is always a risky political strategy.

    With the City now having approved the Interlocal Agreement in its present form, providing one City appointee to Escambia County’s Mass Transit Advisory Committee, there is not much motivation for the Board of County Commissioners to dilute its own voice on its own committee just to appease the weak and indecisive City Council. It might or it might not. We shall see.

    The Board of County Commissions might find that one seat on an Escambia County committee is more than enough for the City of Pensacola to have its voice heard in exchange for $700,000. The Interlocal Agreement adopted by the City Council very clearly states that, “…the County shall have exclusive authority over the management and control of the mass transit system.” The City of Pensacola has no operational role running ECAT. Further, three County Commissioners represent parts of the City of Pensacola.