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Voters, you have a question on your ballot that has not been asked before in Albany. Yes, you have the choice to support increased maintenance on Albany’s residential streets with a local gas tax of five cents per gallon.

Many other surrounding cities have a street utility fee, which does not require a vote of the electorate. I personally feel you should have the first choice by voting on a gas tax. A gas tax is more fair and equitable than a street utility fee, as the more fuel you use the more you pay. Plus, visitors coming to Albany who access our transportation system will be paying this gas tax.

I have heard many questions to why isn’t existing property taxes paying for street improvements, or why did the city spend funds on a past project? Most city taxes and fees are restricted funds and must be spent on their designated program.

If the current gas tax we receive from the state was adequate to maintain our 187 miles of paved streets throughout the city, our streets would not be in the condition they are today. As per state law, gas tax funds can only be spent on the transportation system.

I do not like a new tax any more than you do, but please believe me, there is no other source of funds to improve the condition of our residential streets. I am open to other solutions or an option other than a tax.

Please, support our community’s needs and help our streets get more pavement life by voting yes for 22-172.

Sharon Konopa

Mayor of Albany (May 4)

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