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Albany residents appeared to be saying a definite "no" to a 5-cent-per-gallon fuel surcharge to pay for street repairs in early election returns Tuesday.

The measure was failing in both Linn and Benton counties shortly after the ballot boxes closed, with a 70 to 30 percent margin in Linn and a 65 to 35 percent margin in Benton.

The Albany City Council had voted in April to put the fuel tax request before voters. If approved, the measure would have taxed retail motor vehicle fuel sold within the city as of Jan. 1, 2019.

It was expected to bring in about $1.25 million per year, which was to be used for street maintenance and repair, with priority given to residential and local streets.

Mayor Sharon Konopa placed the blame for the failure on "misinformation" as published through social media and newspaper letters, along with lack of support from an Democrat-Herald editorial that did not endorse the measure.

"I am pleased with the votes who supported the tax and understood the need for increased street maintenance funding," she said Tuesday.


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