County uses of gas tax monies by ordinance are: county debts, roads and bridges, traffic sign maintenance, school crossing safety and 50% of maintenance of railroad crossings. Last on the list is commissioners’ choice for other projects they consider necessary. (Madison County receives gas taxes collected state-wide, allocated by state formula to give counties a gas tax fund, primarily for reducing property taxes.)
A recent routine commission action on debt was the resolution to pay `no more than $187,736.00 of Gas Tax Proceeds For Funding for Closure and Clean-up of the Closed Madison County land- fill.’ The commission action paid the annual debt settlement contracted with EPA and ITT (factory known as `the metal products plant’). Madison County suffers two major toxic waste sites, costly to clean up for decades ahead. The factory site is in the final clean-up phase but must be checked for 15 years. The EPA tests at the closed dump recently showed a new toxic pollutant which current methods may not counter—no end in sight to clean up the dump.
We rightly pay the EPA settlement with gas tax money, but I question using gas tax money to pave at 13 county waste collection sites. (1) Paving at waste sites can be budgeted by the waste collection department, the funding gained through management decisions. (2) County gas tax funds shrink annually by paying clean-up costs into the unforeseeable future. Further, gas tax income can vary according to state economic conditions.
Gas tax income is never enough for our transportation system maintenance, which deserves priority over waste collection sites. Paying the contracted clean-up debt is an ordinance-listed use. In contrast, using gas taxes to pave at waste collection sites is a county commission choice.
I challenge paving at dumps as a priority over maintenance of greater use roads.