City of Pensacola Gas tax appeal in limbo

The City of Pensacola’s appeal of the local option gas tax allocation has stalled. According to County Attorney Alison Rogers, the appeal is in the governor’s office awaiting determination that it has merit.

On July 14, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners passed two interlocal agreements regarding the gas tax. The first agreement agreed to allocate to the City of Pensacola nearly seven percent, $590,000 per year, according to a state formula based on the transportation expenditures in city’s audited financial reports.

Under the old agreement, the City of Pensacola was allocated 18.2 percent, and Mayor Ashton Hayward had asked the county to use an allocation formula based on population –which would have been about 15.62 percent. The county agreed to allocate an additional 8.6 percent out of its share if the city agreed to pave the streets on the west side of the city as listed in an attachment given to the BCC. If the city failed to pave the streets, the county could terminate the agreement.

Unfortunately, the BCC proposal was never delivered to the Pensacola City Council. In early August, Mayor Ashton Hayward notified the Board of County Commissioners that he was appealing the Local Option Gas Tax issue to Gov. Rick Scott. Read Appeal.

City Attorney Lysia Bowling later told the City Council in a memo that it was her decision to make the appeal. The City has since hired an outside attorney to handle the appeal.

Commissioner Steven Barry said in his interview on “Pensacola Speaks” last week that he was looking to resolve the issue at the joint Commission-Council meeting. Unfortunately, that will not happen, according to Rogers. The mayor’s office has advised the Council that the local option gas tax is not to be placed on the agenda.

So what happens next?

Rogers said the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, and Town of Century are holding the local gas tax dollars in escrow. If the governor’s office determines the appeal has merit, then it will be sent to the Department of Administration who will assign a Administrative Law Judge to the case.

Rogers said she has no idea when the issue will be resolved.


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Mayor Hayward and Olson fight to keep old tax allocation
Gas tax revenue allocation goes back to staff
Escambia County not in a hurry to set Local Option Gas Tax allocation
Mayor Hayward puts pressure on BCC re:Local Option Gas Tax
Underhill does not see City getting more gas tax [podcast]
Hayward cut street work and increased dependency on gas tax
Barker adds another wrinkle to gas tax agreement
Buzz: Hayward appeals gas tax issue to Gov. Rick Scott
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Pensacola and Escambia reopen gas tax talks [podcast]
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1 thought on “City of Pensacola Gas tax appeal in limbo

  1. What authority does Mayor Ashton Hayward have to prevent the Pensacola City Council from discussing whatever it wants with its counterpart the Board of County Commissioners? There are two state laws that govern joint meetings between the City and the County – Section 125.001 Board Meetings and Section 166. 0213 Government Body Meetings, Florida Statutes. I wonder if Council President Brian Spencer or his counterpart County Chairman Doug Underhill has ever read the laws. If not, they should because certain actions are required before they can hold a joint meeting. Neither law mentions the Mayor/City Manager or Hayward’s counterpart the County Administrator. The voter-approved City Charter requires the Mayor to -“attend all meetings of the City Council” so even if Hayward is opposed to the agenda he is still required to be there if only to listen. There is nothing I have ever found in State law, our City Charter or the city’s Municipal Code that grants the Pensacola Mayor a power to dictate to the Pensacola City Council what it may or may not discuss or with whom. Of course, our current situation having a politically castrated City Council is unique as seen last year when Mayor Ashton Hayward forbid Council President Charles Bare to speak to David Allen nominated for appointment as the new Fire Chief. Bare could have refused to comply with Hayward’s order, or he could have asked City Attorney Bowling if it was her opinion that the City Charter gave the Mayor control over the department head nomination process or he could have adjourned the meeting leaving Allen in limbo. Instead, Bare caved to Hayward’s assertion of control over the legislative process. I have read all of Chapter 336 County Road System, Florida Statutes. It several times mentions “the governing body of a municipality.” It never once mentions “the Mayor” or “the City Attorney.” I would like to see County Chairman Doug Underhill begin to treat the City Council has his political allies in their mutual fight with Hayward and his minions. Underhill should fire a shot across the bow of the City of Pensacola directing County Attorney Alison Rogers to seek an Advisory Legal Opinion from the Florida Attorney General. I bet that Attorney General Bondi will have an opinion on the matter. The issue seems pretty simple. In sum, does State law grant a rogue unelected municipal official (City Attorney Lysia Bowling) the legislative power to take it upon herself without the knowledge or consent of the governing body of the City (Pensacola City Council) to appeal the local gas tax allocation. I doubt it. Bowling’s deception was so complete she did not even include the City Council on distribution for her August 3 23-page appeal. The City Council only found about the appeal by accident with the subject came up five days later during the August 8 Agenda Conference. I was present and heard what Bowling said and how she said it. Her speech was also recorded on video.

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