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Okaloosa County considers raising gas tax

The Okaloosa County Administrator is recommending county commissioners increase the current gas tax to fill budget needs.
Florida allows counties to levy up to 12 cents right now. Okaloosa County's gas tax is set at 7 cents.
The hope is to hike up the tax by 5 cents, to reach the maximum of 12 cents.

Channel 3's Jenise Fernandez joins us.

The purpose for this hike is to use gas tax money to help pave and improve roads in the county.

Sharvel Pompey doesn't drive too much. A new teenage driver, he fills up about once week, but the cost can leave a dent in his pocket book.

"Raising it doesn't make much sense to me...."

Every cent counts for Pompey, and even though the tax would improve roads, he doesn't think it's worth it.

"People are dealing with their families, debt... We've already been doing it."

The additional revenue from the gas tax would generate an additional 3.3 million dollars a year helping the county improve roads and fix sewage issues, especially in the north end of the county.
The tax would also be paid by thousands of tourists who visit the county every year.

Ernie Padgett, County Administrator
"We feel like because this county has gone through consecutive years...we need to turn the corner on that."

Javan Franks believes it's a small price to pay to improve the county.

This was the first of five budget hearings. The last meeting will be in august with a public hearing scheduled in September.
Reporting live in Crestview, Jenise Fernandez, Channel Three News.