By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Madison County’s current six-cent local option gasoline sales tax, in effect since Jan. 1, 2014, consists of a five-cent tax and a one-cent tax passed by ordinance a few months earlier at a County Commission meeting Sept. 18, 2013, after a public hearing where only one individual addressed the board, expressing concern that Madison County was “maxing out” its fuel tax options, asking if the tax could wait.
The ordinances had first been discussed at the Sept. 4 meeting, when County Attorney Tommy Reeves advised the commission that if they wished to consider the ordinances, they would have to be advertised in the newspaper and open to a public hearing at the next regular meeting, (Sept. 18). The ordinances had to be voted on and passed by Oct. 1 in order to take effect by the target date of Jan. 1.
Both ordinances are similar, using local option sales tax on motor fuel (excluding diesel), in order to generate revenue for improvement of the county’s road system. The main difference is that proceeds from the one-cent tax do not have to be divided with the municipalities in Madison County, while the proceeds of the five-cent tax must be divided according to the distribution formula that gives Madison County 70.17 percent; the City of Madison 21.69 percent; the Town of Greenville 6.16 percent, and the Town of Lee 1.98 percent.
The one-cent tax (Ordinance 2013-209) passed unanimously, but the five-cent tax (Ordinance 2013-210) passed by a vote of 4-1, with Commissioner Justin Hamrick casting the dissenting vote. With the taxes in effect since Jan.1, the Commission held a workshop March 26 to discuss uses of the revenue generated so far, and decide which road resurfacing or paving projects were eligible under the guidelines in the two ordinances. Court clerk Tim Sanders said afterward that it was the feeling of the board that the paving and resurfacing needs were the most urgent of the road improvement needs in Madison County.