Hollister council members this week unanimously opposed the ballot measure Proposition 6, which would repeal a state bill that taxes residents at the pump in exchange for funds to conduct road work.
In question is Senate Bill 1, which taxes drivers 12 cents per gallon for regular gas and 20 cents for diesel fuel, and raised registration fees. The funds are used for road repairs, while in Hollister it amounts to about $650,000 annually, City Manager Bill Avera told council members when presenting the opposition consideration.
“As you know as as this community knows, it’s a very critical component for what we do here to maintain our roads as best we can,” Avera said.
Councilwoman Mickie Luna noted how many cities are opposing the repeal on the November ballot, noting how she would present the Hollister resolution at an upcoming League of California Cities meeting.
“It would be my honor to take the resolution for the City of Hollister opposing this proposition,” she said.
But residents like Marty Richman, a candidate for District 4 council on the November ballot, underscored that $650,000 doesn’t compare well with the funds received in larger areas with more clout. He said Hollister is “not getting our fair shake” and urged city officials to lobby for a larger piece of the pie. He noted a stipulation in the senate bill related to priorities.
Richman mentioned how Hollister has 951 vehicles for every 1,000 residents compared with 500 per thousand in San Francisco.
“We’re paying the gas tax. We’re paying the tax on the registration and we’re not getting a fair amount of money out of it.”
Still, he said he’s not opposed to Prop. 6. That was a similar stance from resident Kevin Stopper.
“While I agree with what Marty said 100 percent and nobody wants to pay more taxes, part of the situation we have here is we’re not a self-help county and we’re surrounded by self-help counties,” he said.
He said officials do need to get on the state about receiving more funds and urged council members to oppose it.
Councilman Jim Gillio agreed with both speakers, mentioning the self-help aspect is “critical” and noting how communities receive a $5 million bonus and $200 million available through funding matches when they become what’s called self-help, which means communities are willing to pay for a certain chunk of their road work independent from the state.