Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward paid the Orlando-based law firm GrayRobinson $28,409.55 to handle his appeal regarding the local gas tax and eventually settled for a lower percentage than he originally sought from the Escambia Board of County Commissioners and what the BCC offered the City of Pensacola.
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 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. The combined allocation to the City would have been slightly more than what the mayor requested.
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 Pensacola City Council in a memo that it was her decision to make the appeal.
However, Bowling, who is paid $154,000 a year, plus benefits, did not handle the appeal. The City hired GrayRobinson to handle it.
The appeal was passed on to an administrative law judge. The city and county reached an agreement that was executed by both parties in April. The City of Pensacola’s percentage of the local option gas tax is 15.15 percent through Dec. 31, 2026.
|Legal Costs – Gas Tax Appeal|
The GrayRobinson’s invoices:MX-2615N_20170516_151957