Peculiar to consider recount on fuel tax initiative

bbashioum@demo-mo.comApril 9, 2014 

Peculiar’s 1-cent-per-gallon fuel tax proposal to make street improvements failed by a half of one percent.

After it’s fourth time on the ballot, the city’s biggest hurdle in getting the tax passed has been the two-thirds super-majority vote approval (66.67 percent) that is required for passage.

“I think I might ask the county clerk, since it was that close, if they’ll do a recount,” said City Administrator Brad Ratliff after the polls closed on April 8.

Of the 745 voters who came to the polls Tuesday, 66.17 percent of voters, or 493 votes, approved the tax.

Seven switched votes could have reversed the outcome.

“With it being that close...a lot of people would like to see it happen,” Ratliff said.

Voter turnout was also significantly high, coming in at almost 24 percent.

The last time the issue was on the ballot in 2012, 60 percent of voters supported the tax -- up from 57 percent in 2010, and nearly 44 percent in 2009.

Ratliff said citizens petitioned the city to put the measure on the ballot again this year.

“In the last two times the only reason we’ve brought it out was because of the citizens who came and petitioned it,” he said.

Ratliff said Peculiar, a town of about 4,800 residents, only has about $150,000 annually to spend on streets.

“That’s a very minimal (amount) to not just maintain, but to make continual improvements,” said Ratliff, of the city’s street budget. “We need a revenue source to pay for roads.”

The city currently has a $50 million street improvement to-do list, and the revenue could have given the city the gas they need to jump start on the improvements.

Ratliff estimated that the tax could have generated an additional $100,000 annually for the city. He speculated that about 80 percent of the revenue would be generated from motorists passing through Peculiar, primarily at the Flying J Travel Plaza near Interstate 49.

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