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Okaloosa Co braces for gas price increase

Updated: Thursday, September 5 2013, 09:47 PM CDT
Okaloosa Co braces for gas price increase story image
OKALOOSA COUNTY   --   OKALOOSA COUNTY - People who live in Okaloosa County are bracing for an increase in gas prices.
This week, commissioners approved a tax hike of three cents per gallon.
Laura Hussey says, "Pain at the pump may be an overworked cliche, until you pick up this nozzle and fill your tank. You may have noticed a spike in gas prices in the last week. That has more to do with the market and international events. The tax increase approved by Okaloosa commissioners starts in January.   

Paula Dougherty is out looking for a job. It costs sixty bucks to fill her tank, without the new gas tax.

Dougherty says, "I don't believe in it, it's high enough. People cannot afford it, they can't"

Ray Baker tries to fill up wherever gas is cheapest. He didn't know the tax was going up.

Baker says, "I've got a five month old, so it's hard, with diapers and everything else, it's hard to get gas just to be able to take her to the doctor"
Sharon Shimkus owns her own business. She says she can't pass on a tax increase to her customers.

Shimkus says, "I do maintenance, repair, construction, stuff like that so you're always running getting stuff, so it does add up, it adds up a lot"
None of these consumers knew what the county plans to do with the money the gas tax will bring in.

Shimkus says, "Yeah, I'd like to know what it's used for"
Local gas tax money can only be used for transportation.
That includes road improvements, and stormwater projects related to roads.

The money will be divided between the county and individual cities. In Crestview, it might be used to save a bus route the county just cut.

Ray Baker says, "It's a growing city, it's only going to get bigger"
Knowing the purpose doesn't change Paula Dougherty's opinion of the tax.

Paula laughs, and says, "I think it's awful, I think we're all going to be poor one day. We're just going to get poorer and poorer and poorer"

Laura Hussey says, "It's hard to find fans of a tax increase, but it could have been worse. Commissioners talked about a five-cent-per-gallon hike, before they decided on three cents."

Okaloosa Co braces for gas price increase
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