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Allegany County Legislature votes to reduce fuel tax for summer driving season, see roll call

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The vote by the Committee of the Whole must be approved by another vote next week

By Andrew Harris

After a week of tumult over reducing fuel taxes rates in Allegany County, a major decision has been made by county legislators. Gretchen Hanchett, legislator from District 2 made a motion to create a $3 cap on fuel taxes for one quarter(June-August,) and intense discussion began in the legislative chambers.

Earlier this week, board Chairman Phil Stockin announced that the county would not be participating in the state endorsed “rollback” of fuel taxes. After yesterday’s legislative retreat at Houghton College, that decision appeared to be in question after District 3 Legislator Adam Cyr made strong statements in favor of providing the tax relief to drivers.

This morning, the county called a sudden Committee of the Whole meeting. During that meeting legislators were provided detailed information from county Treasurer Terri Ross, county Administrator Carissa Knapp, and county Attorney Allison Carrow.

A spirited discussion on the motion made by Hanchett revealed some valid concerns about the county forgoing the tax revenue. Dwight Fanton of District 3 noted that Allegany County is feeling the pains of inflation just like the average consumer or business. Legislator Havey from District 4, noted that county residents want tax relief and lawmakers should react. Legislator Deb Root, from District 3, voiced concern that a tax break today could impact the property tax levy next year. Chairman Phil Stockin made a statement to the committee that expressed his belief that the county could provide better long term benefit to residents by being fiscally conservative in the short term. Legislator Cyr wondered why a board of all Republicans were not taking the opportunity to cut taxes.

When the vote was called, the Committee of the Whole voted 9-5 for the resolution which could provide tax relief to drivers in June, July, and August of this year. That resolution must be approved by the full board meeting planned for May 11.

Here is how the board voted today on the subject:

Stockin – N, Hanchett – Y, Healy – N, Ricci – Y, Cyr – Y, Fanton – Y, Root – N, Barnes – N, Havey – Y, Rumfelt – Y, Burdick – N , Harris – Y, Demick-Y, Ricketts-Swales – Y, Curran-absent

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