County engineer: gas tax increase needed

By Anna Bolton - [email protected]

XENIA — The Greene County Engineer’s Office would receive an additional estimated $1.772 million in 2020 if the Ohio legislature approves the proposed increase in motor vehicle user fee, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

If approved, the increase would raise the gas tax from 28 to 46 cents per gallon (cpg) effective Monday, July 1.

Revenue raised in the first year would amount to around $1.2 billion, the proposal shows. Ohio’s cities, villages, counties and townships would receive about 40 percent of the funding, while ODOT would receive the rest, according to a Feb. 22 release. A constitutional restriction requires the money to only be used for purposes related to construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of public highways and bridges.

State law divides revenue equally among the state’s 88 counties. The increase would bump the current 28 cpg estimate of $2.4 million for state fiscal year (SFY) 2020 to the proposed 46 cpg indexed estimate of $4.2 million for SFY 2020, ODOT data shows. The Greene County engineer is responsible for maintaining the 325 miles of county roads and 286 bridges.

“It’s definitely needed,” Greene County Engineer Bob Geyer said. “We haven’t had any increase in income in almost 15 years. So whatever we can get is a great help.”

According to the long-time county engineer, his department has had to adjust to the “pretty much flat” gas tax over the years.

“We’ve had to change the way we work to keep things going with what our income is,” he said. “From 2007 to 2010, we put Hot Mix Asphalt on every road we paved, every year. We had to stop that. Now we use chip seal and microsurface rather than Hot Mix Asphalt, just to try to hold the roads together. It’s cheaper.”

Geyer said “stagnant” funds have also affected the county’s equipment.

“We also had to forgo purchasing new equipment. Because of it, we’re trying to get more time out of our trucks,” he said, adding that he’s rehabbed the trucks, but now finding parts is difficult.

“We used to try to turn trucks over every 10 years, now it’s longer,” he said.

Geyer, who is retiring in May after 22 years, said the proposed 18-cent increase would allow the county engineer’s office to “go back and do what we used to do,” in terms of paving and other projects.

The tax money would also be distributed to cities, villages and townships in Greene County, which are responsible for their own roads.

According to ODOT, the amount municipalities receive is based on the number of motor vehicles registered in each municipality. Townships see their funds distributed based on both the number of center-line roadway miles and vehicle registrations.

ODOT Estimation of Local Gas Tax Revenues for SFY 2020

Municipalities — Current 28 cpg est. — Proposed 46 cpg indexed est.

Bath Township — $90,475 — $151,989

City of Beavercreek — $1,743,397 — $3,011,192

Beavercreek Township — $100,258 — $176,642

City of Bellbrook — $274,978 — $474,942

Village of Bowersville — $11,418 — $19,722

Caesar Creek Township — $90,475 — $151,989

Cedarville Township — $90,475 — $151,989

Village of Cedarville — $50,207 — $86,717

City of Fairborn — $1,067,249 — $1,843,350

Village of Jamestown — $67,957 — $117,376

Jefferson Township — $90,475 — $151,989

Miami Township — $90,475 — $151,989

New Jasper Township — $90,475 — $151,989

Ross Township — $90,475 — $151,989

Silver Creek Township — $90,475 — $151,989

Spring Valley Township — $90,475 — $151,989

Village of Spring Valley — $18,685 — $32,272

Sugar Creek Township — $109,324 — $199,490

City of Xenia — $853,308 — $1,473,831

Xenia Township — $99,701 — $175,239

Village of Yellow Springs — $116,780 — $201,702

By Anna Bolton

[email protected]