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Gas stations work with group on anti-VRE effort

Some gas stations you may have noticed have signs that say gas prices are going up 5.2 cents Feb. 15 because the county board joined VRE. When you join VRE, the locality starts a 2.1 percent gas tax on wholesale gasoline. 

This group is assisting the gas station owners with the effort. The Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association contacted me last week to see if I was interested in running the story on this 5.2 cent increase. I said sure, but I need some proof that this is not some stunt because I’ve seen enough proof in my own daily travels that VRE didn’t seem to have an effect on gas prices. I have found gas cheaper in Stafford than in Spotsy before, and the reverse. If a station decides to increase the price of gas 5.2 cents, and the station across the street doesn’t do that, then it seems like someone might lose business, right?

So, I will be beating around numbers trying to figure out how this gas tax really works. I’ve already had a few legislators tell me that this gas tax does not have a real impact on the actual price at the pumps.

 

 

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/spotsygovt/2010/02/15/gas-stations-work-with-group-on-antivre-effort/

  • lgross

    isn’t this all done? What are people supposed to
    do? Is there something going on at the General
    Assembly level?

    Well.. actually yes… there’s a bill in the GA to
    raise the tax from 2.1 to 4% in the NoVa area…
    not sure where it is right now since Richmond
    Sunlight is apparently overwhelmed so I cannot
    get the exact info to post here right now.. will try
    again later.

  • tpkeller

    Larry, the official LIS site seems to be working fine:

    http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm

    On the subject at hand… this seems to be somewhat like the BPOL tax. There are certain products I always buy at Walmart, and no matter what jurisdiction I happen to be in, that price is always the same, be it Spotsy, City, or Stafford.

    I don’t know as much about BPOL, are the rates the same for all the local jurisdictions? I suspect like the gas tax, the final price is set by supply and demand, but mostly by how much the retailer wants to beat their competition across the street.

  • lgross

    yes.. I never argued with that idea because it was
    pretty obvious that gasoline in Fredericksburg
    often was the same price as in Spotsy.. and the
    WaWa in Central Park usually lower than the
    WaWa out towards 5 mile fork.

    but what’s the reason for the kerfuffle at this
    point?

    here’s the bill I was talking about: HB269

    ” Sales tax on motor fuels in Northern Virginia;
    increase in rate. Increases the rate of the state
    sales tax on motor fuels in Northern Virginia from
    2.1 percent to 4.2 percent. ”

    http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2010/hb269
    /

    I use Richmondsunlight because it’s much easier
    to use and search for bills… the state site only
    works for me if I know the bill number… the
    search function is painful.

  • Sillyyouare1957

    Somebody needs to tell this “group” and the gas station owners that they are a day late and a dollar short. And if these gas stations want to go out of business, they are on the right track. Keep jacking up your prices. Don’t be a penny wise and a dollar short. You are on the fast track to the unemployment line.

  • spotsylady

    I can’t quite put in into words or back it with anything, but this just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m gettin’ itchy! I feel like someone’s reading from a source and then plastering the news as it relates to them, whether the information is correct or not. Remember the whole debacle about well/septic folks paying for water/sewer? It was completely isolated in conversation it originated in and was sold as fact…

  • dantelvock

    I believe a story will run tomorrow but I wanted to point out a few observations.

    I went to a Shell gas station in Thorburg–the Dairy Queen one of Rt 606 and spoke with the owner, who is represented by this lobbying group. His price was 2.59 per gallon. It was the highest among a cluster of four stations. On my way back to the office, I noticed on Rt 3 that the city stations were all at about 2.45 a gallon, including the BP at which I filled up.

    The city is a VRE member with the 2.1 percent tax.

    The county is a VRE member.

    Thoughts?

  • hapconnors

    This is price gouging, and it is illegal. Please report any suspicious activity to the AG’s office of consumer affairs:

    http://www.oag.state.va.us/CONSUMER/

  • lgross

    Anyone else ever checked the price of the Shell
    eastbound on Route 3 right before the southbound I-
    95 ramp (next to the Burger King)?

    and I’ve seen some other area stations that are also
    high compared to prevailing prices…

    I have not checked lately but I seem to recall on that
    they could be 10-20 cents higher than other stations

    when the website of the Virginia Petroleum,
    Convenience and Grocery Association was searched,
    only one document was found – the PDF that Dan
    shared – nothing else.. no discussion of the issue at
    all.

    I don’t think this is going to amount to a hill of
    beans… once those station owners start checking
    their weekly/monthly sales figures.

  • gramps

    emailed the following to me last Nov. He said, “When Virginia moved the point of taxation to the terminal in 2001, retail reporting ended, so there is not source of the information you desire. You may be aware that the county has voted to add a 2.1 percent additional sales tax on February 15, 2001 (his bad, should have been 2010). Based upon today?s prices this will increase the cost of fuel in Spotsylvania stations by 5.3 cents per gallon. When fully implemented you will be able to determine the gallons sold in the County. Of course less gallons will be sold after the tax takes effect as consumers go to neighboring jurisdictions to avoid it.”

    It seems to me that the move of the point of taxation to the terminal levels the playing field vis-a-vis the VRE tax. Pump price differences, therefore are the responsibility of the retailers in those areas that belong to VRE.

    Larry is right, if a retailer adds the 5+ cents and loses sales, said retailer will soon get the message. “GOUGE away old retailer, you are only hurting youself.”

  • lgross

    glad to see Bhaas is managing to keep those fingers limber
    while recovering from his surgery.

    A couple of comments.

    First, this is a tax on a tax according to the other article in
    today’s paper.

    that does not seem right to me.

    Second, when taxing at the terminal – think about loading up a
    truck that is going to go refuel several service stations how do
    they keep track of which loads have to have to tax added and
    which do not?

    and then Finally, who keeps track of the tax?

    The folks at the terminal can add the tax. Does the retailer pay
    the tax to the terminal as part of the invoice?

    Wat happens to the tax once it is collected?

    Someone, some where is keeping track of this tax and the
    revenues on a jurisdictional basis… where they know how much
    tax has been collected from the gas shipped to Spotsylvania –
    SEPARATE from the fuel sent to Fredericksburg even if the same
    tanker truck took fuel deliveries to both stations.

    When I had last contacted the state to ask how they would
    figure out the tax “at the rack” and how it would be reported so
    citizens would be able to see it, i was told that they were “still
    working this out”.

    Why is this important?

    It’s important because citizens DO PAY the tax and it IS being
    used to pay for stuff and citizens are due an accounting of it.

    Citizens also do not get an accounting of their other gas taxes
    paid either.

    I’ve yet to see an accounting of how much gas tax Spotsylvania
    citizens pay every year (like we DO have with sales taxes) and
    I’ve yet to see an accounting of how that gas tax is spent and
    on what things in Spotsylvania.

    So Spotsylvania citizens are paying 35 cents a gallon plus 2.1%
    per sale and there is no accounting for that money other than
    what VRE ultimately reports.

    When some folks keep saying that we need to pay more in gas
    taxes to fix our transportation systems – what assurances do we
    have that we know how much would be collected and how much
    Spotsy would actually get and what it would be spent on?

    I really am shocked that our elected apparently meekly accept
    this tax without demanding an accounting for it.

    Seems to me – at the very least – Mr. Orrock and/or Mr. Houck
    could be asked to submit legislation that would REQUIRE an
    accounting so that Spotsylvania citizens do know how much they
    are paying in gas taxes – and how much money VDOT spends
    in the county and for what purposes.

    No wonder people are opposed to paying increased gas taxes if
    their perception is that it justs goes to Richmond and never
    comes back.

    Seems like any citizens organization that lobbies for increased
    taxes on citizens would also advocate for a proper accounting of
    said taxes also.

  • hapconnors

    To Larry, bhaas, others:

    This is a shortened version of the gas tax/fee machinations provided by Al Harf, of PRTC:

    The motor fuels tax is collected by Taxation, and
    Taxation also bears primary responsibility for insuring that payments
    are made as required and tax revenue is properly credited by
    jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction has its own Local Government Investment
    Pool (LGIP) bank account for tax deposits, and those deposits are made
    on a monthly basis after collection and attribution determinations have
    been made by Taxation. Taxation has audit staff dedicated to the
    oversight of this particular tax, and is assisted by PRTC Finance staff
    which (together with Taxation staff) monitors receipts by jurisdiction
    in an effort to identify anomalies. The Taxation auditors dedicated to
    the oversight of this particular tax are also supported by multiple
    units within Taxation. Taxation is compensated for these oversight
    services by a small portion of the 2.1% tax (e.g., approximately
    $100,000 in FY09 on gross PRTC fuel tax revenue of $19 million), which
    is borne by all the member jurisdictions on a proportionate basis
    according to tax yields.

    The process of collection enforcement and reporting does result in
    enforcement actions from time to time, and also results in debit and
    credit adjustments when instances of misattribution are found.
    Experience has shown that these adjustments are a small fraction of the
    total yield, but we’ve learned not to focus on individual month’s
    deposits as a basis for projecting annual yields precisely because
    monthly deposits are affected by adjustments of this sort in addition to
    belated payments that sometimes arise. The General Assembly fashioned
    the change from taxing distributors instead of retailers as a way of
    curbing the incidence of adjustments / belated payments, reasoning that
    with far fewer distributors, there are fewer opportunities for human
    error and auditing oversight should be easier, though only time will
    tell for sure.

  • gramps

    Okay, now we have been given a peek at the collection and revenue disribution process for the motor fuels tax. Thank you for that insight.

    When might we have a look at some real numbers? Say those for F’Burg and Stafford and maybe one more VRE jurisdiction up north of here?

  • lgross

    I really don’t care about the “inside baseball” – just
    provide some numbers… – transparency… if you will.

    Citizens are entitled to see how their taxes are
    collected and used in my view.

    When we don’t provide a level of transparency you’re
    building a powerful anti-tax constituency in my view.

  • hapconnors

    I asked Lloyd to provide you with some information last night at your Transportation Advisory Group meeting, and I understand you received it. Keep up the great work!

  • lgross

    What I have been pointing out that if a citizen
    wanted to know what the fuel taxes generated last
    year, and the year before – there is no place he
    can go to see this.

    What I received was a 2007 report that detailed
    potential funding sources – which is good but not
    the same as a report that details the actual
    revenues that have been generated.

    Compare this to the county budget – where I can
    go to the county website and see how much
    property taxes generated last year and in years
    past and how much you expect it to generate this
    year.

    That’s transparency. And that provides citizens with
    some accountability of revenues collected – and
    how those revenues were spent.

    We do not have the equivalent for VRE taxes nor
    do we have them for our 17.5 cents State Gasoline
    Tax.

    So… we have people paying fuel taxes and they
    really have no idea how much revenues are being
    generated – and no place to go to find out.

    For some reason – I’m not able to communicate
    this point successfully.

    Now – if we actually could go to a place that had
    the VRE revenues per locality and could see the
    number of gallons sold – we could fairly easily
    determine how much 17.5 fuel tax revenues have
    been generated.

    I think this number is important for the public to
    understand how much we generate right now – and
    it will then lead to a request for a detailed
    accounting from VDOT as to how much of that
    money they keep and how much gets spent locally
    and for what purposes.

    I think citizens are entitled to this information
    since they do pay the taxes and are owed
    accountability for them.

    For some reason.. I have failed to successfully get
    this point across to our elected and appointed
    leaders.

  • gramps

    are NOT going to get the data we seek. What hc supplied earlier on this site is “process” not data. The process describes how the taxes are carefully collected, analyzed, updated and how then the revenue is deposited in each locality account. Therefore, the data exists; IT HAS TO.

    However, for some strange reason the great “unwashed” masses out here are being denied access.

    Does anyone have any ideas why this info is being kept a secret? What the h*** are “they” hiding?

  • hapconnors

    Gentlemen,

    I suggest you call the above offices, who, by law, are the managers of this data.

    Just a suggestion.

  • lgross

    Well.. it looks like asking for responsibility to ensure transparency and
    accountability for local taxes is a no go. eh?

    So.. we have Supervisors who actively lobbied for a new 2.1% tax – but
    when asked to provide an accounting of it to citizens – they refer citizens
    to a State Agency.

    And then some wonder why there is a growing anti-tax constituency!

    Please re-think this… especially if we plan on making the case to citizens
    for more local funding of transportation.

  • gramps

    I agree with Larry, but let me be more succinct.

    Since Mr. Connors apparently knows where the “data” is, I suggest he provide either the data or a direct link to same.

    Mr. Gross and I spent a lot of time in the past six months or so looking for this data. In fact, we have been sent up various and sundry “blind alleys.” In my view, Mr. Connors latest “suggestion” is simply another “stall.”

  • lgross

    well I would not be as quick to ascribe bad motives as
    I’m quite sure if the relevant info was provided that
    we’d not have our elected officials arguing against
    doing so.

    However, it does indicate to me that there is much
    less interest in providing it than there was in
    advocating for the tax itself and I guess I consider it
    a responsibility that goes along with advocating for
    the tax – to also pursue accountability for it.

    So I appeal to Mr. Connors, and Mr. Logan and
    whoever else on the BOS who might be so inclined to
    try to understand the importance of tax accountability
    and the role the lack of it plays in empowering those
    who oppose any/all taxes on the premise that they
    disappear down a black hole ..therefore the correct
    solution is to give them no mo taxes.. and starve the
    beast.

  • hapconnors

    Larry and BillHaas:

    I am trying to be helpful and direct you to the offices that control revenue and taxes. The gas fee that comes with VRE membership has only been in force for a couple of days here, but if you want a historical accounting of the state’s gas fee, then you need to go to those offices. Those taxes never come before the Board, and we don’t control them, so again, I am trying to direct you to the agencies that do. They are constitutional departments – you vote for the Commissioner of Revenue – and you also might want to check with the Treasurer, another constitutional officer you all elect. Not trying to be cute, or in Mr. Haas’ words, an “arse,” but these are the facts, and you can criticize me on this post all day long, but the fact remains the same. If you don’t want to call these offices, then I suggest you contact your state reps for this information on state-imposed taxes, or fees.

  • lgross

    Thanks Hap but I consider that YOUR JOB since
    you want those taxes and have voted for them
    including the VRE Tax.

    If you voted for the VRE Tax then you owe
    citizens an accounting of that tax.

    If you want to advocate for a higher gas tax, then
    I’m going to want to know how much we get
    locally and if you cannot provide that info then
    why would you advocate for that tax increase?

    I forgive you for having this blind spot but as an
    elected official, you ought to realize how
    important this is to the whole idea of people
    paying more taxes.

    VRE is a tax that is put on all citizens. If you
    advocate for it then you have a responsibility as
    an elected official to work to provide
    accountability.

    That’s my view and it is given with respect to you
    as a person and as your role as an elected
    official.

    You and the BOS – can insist to the VRE board
    that they provide a direct accounting to citizens
    and I would urge you to consider it.

    Just the idea of you being in favor of the VRE tax
    and then telling us to go find out from the state
    the accounting ..gets me STEAMED… you know?

  • hapconnors

    Larry –

    I will track the tax/fee associated with VRE, which began 2/15. However, you are looking for historical data on a state tax that is controlled by your Commissioner of Revenue and the Dept. of Taxation. You can keep beating me up on this page, but again, those are the facts, and I would suggest that you have been looking in the wrong place. It is apparent that even though you are one of our representatives on our regonal Transportation Advisory Group, you would rather use this message board to complain about this issue rather than going to the sources I’ve given you for the data you seek. This is my last post on this, because quite frankly, it is a waste of energy and time.

  • lgross

    I’ve never identified myself as being on that
    board nor have I publically used that role in this
    venue and have participated as a citizen.

    But since you did bring it up.

    FAMPO and VRE – have been asked and HAVE
    NOT provided this information.

    You – as an elected official who has advocated for
    tax increases, in my view, have a responsibility to
    work to provide accountability and not put it off
    on others.

    You could advocate for this accountability.

    You could make a motion on the BOS to send a
    resolution to VRE to provide both current and
    historical accountability for this tax.

    That would be, in my mind, a very important
    statement on your part that you do take the
    accountability seriously and you are willing to do
    what you can as an elected official to ensure
    accountability.

    Sorry if this feels like you’re feel like you’re
    getting beaten up… not at all my intent ..

    and I’ll finish by complimenting you – it does
    take courage to appear in this venue to discuss
    issues….

    and so I’ll give you credit for that… but continue
    to urge you to follow up on this.

    and then – thank you for your consideration and
    for all the other good things that you do for the
    citizens of Spotsylvania..

    so thank you…

  • gramps

    Mr. Connors,

    I completely agree with Larry Gross. It has taken courage to appear here and elsewhere using your real name and not a pseudonym.

    Even though I have differed with you on a number of issues, I have always been greatful that you have seen fit to serve the citizens of Spotsylvania.

    In this current VRE tax/fee debate, I think it might be useful for you to understand that we have been to the places you have suggested to us. In fact, none other than the Commonwealth Auditor of Public Accounts has told me that the data we seek is not collected, nor reported by locality. Yet, you in your recent post outlined the entire collection, analysis, updating, and revenue distribution process straight to individual locality bank accounts. Does this seeming contradiction not strike you as curious?

  • gramps

    Oops…”greatful” should have been “grateful.”

  • loganj001

    Larry, let me remind you that we are able, with Debbie William’s help, to calculate
    the exact number of gallons of fuel sold in Spotsylvania each year through the
    filings of the BPOL Tax. This fact seems to be considered of little significance on this
    blog. However, it will help determine the accountability of our tax revenues paid
    to/from us to PRTC and, by extension, the State and Fed.
    The BPOL tax filings are due March 1, and I have already asked Ms. Williams to get
    those numbers to me as soon as they are available. The State and Federal taxes
    paid will be easy to calculate, VRE will be a little more difficult. Getting the
    “average” price per gallon paid at the distributors’ level could be a challenge, but
    not impossible. We are working on it.

  • lgross

    The goal here is not to satisfy this obnoxious character
    named Gross or Haas but to acknowledge that any citizen
    should have easy access to this information just as they do
    the county budget – without having to make a “special
    request” to any Govt person.

    This is a simple matter of transparency – that everyone
    yammers about but apparently even our elected officials
    don’t quite “get” sometimes and I have to admit – I’m flat
    flummoxed by it.

    A simple spreadsheet from the VRE folks posted on their
    website or Spotsylvanias would solve this issue.

    So you ask for it.. and what do you get?

    Well you get 3 pages of a detailed description of HOW the
    tax is Collected.. but absolutely no mention of the revenues
    much less how they were spent.

    OUCH!

    Please help!

    thanks!

  • lgross

    GREAT! Now where is that info? Is it posted somewhere where all of
    us retired folk with nothing else to do can go look at it?

    Also – do we ever get an answer back from VDOT on an accounting
    of their spending in Spotsylvania?

    thanks!

    I admit it.. I like your answers better than Haps… ;-)

  • gramps

    Mr. Logan,

    Let me take this opportunity to thank you for also having the courage to post here under your real name. I also thank you for your service to the county at large as well as to the district.

    Since you are my representatve on the BOS, would you care to comment on the seeming “contradiction” I explained in an earlier post?

  • loganj001

    Bill, although we attended and were “sworn -in” at this month’s PRTC
    meeting, we will be attending our first official meeting as active
    members on March 4. Once we are “on board”, so to speak, I will bring
    these reporting/data issues to the PRTC Board for some answers. Last
    year, PRTC said that they used a National Per Capita Average for
    computing each locality’s annual gas consumption. That’s why I believe
    our BPOL filing data is so significant. I feel we can make a very strong
    case for a more honest/accurate accounting of our actual gas tax
    revenue with our own “in-house” data. I have asked Dave Stanley, of
    VDOT, for an accounting of revenue/expenses. Dave gave me some
    very rough numbers, but few details. I will keep asking for the numbers.

  • MAVRICKinc

    If anyone were able to link up with the PRTC website and review the minutes of their Dec. and Jan. meetings , that come with multiple attachments and supporting documentation, you too might be able to catch sight of PRTC NET FUEL TAX COLLECTIONS, with multiple graphs and accounting of fuel tax by jurisdiction.

    When you get to page 9 of the PRTC 12/3/09 meeting minutes, you may want to pause for a moment to see if you can decipher or interpret para 3 and 4 as it relates to Spotsylvania County’s joinder with VRE.

    It goes as follows: “Vice Chairman Way: Asked for clarification with regard to Spotsylvania County’s build up of the fuel tax fund balance and ‘contribution deferal.’ Mr. Harf explained Spotsylvania County’s fund balance will not simply build. He explained the deferal is something the County sought to provide the financial wherewithal fo the fundind of a VRE station and parking, obligations that the County has under the membership agreement. Mr Harf also noted Spotsylvania County’s contribution to PRTC and VRE is EMBEDDED within the projections presented in the budget presentation.”

    Pargraph 4: “Commissioner Milde (Stafford Co. BOS): Asked if PRTC and VRE will realize a “lump” sum payment from Spotsylvania County FY 2013. Mr. Harf replied “yes” and explained the County will make a one-time lump sum payment, and the member jurisdictions will receive a CREDIT from the Commission.”

    I don’t have my dictionary handy at the moment, but would very much like see and understand what “embedded” means and how it impacts Spotsylvania County’s future budget agendas and taxation practices.

    Please also make special note of the fact that Jerry Logan is now, also, a member of the PRTC executive board, as well as a board supervisor for Spotsylvania County. Gary Skinner is Spotsylvania County’s “alternate to this Board, with Connors, Pitts, and Barnes serving county interest on the FAMPO board.

    If anyone is looking for “transparency” in their government, you might be better off looking out your front door in the middle of a blizzard. Anyone know what “white-out” is? You can start with a picket fence and work your way to the editorial page of any newspaper. Anyone ever have to drive in “white-out” conditions where you can’t see the road, much less anyone who may be traveling in front of your need to make it home safely?

    One day I hope to better understand what courage is, when an elected official can’t give a straight answer to a simple question. Or, is the question really the answer?

  • gramps

    I am not sure how to reply to the info placed on the blog by Mr. Logan. Perhaps I do not understand.

    He said, “Last year, PRTC used a National Per Capita Average for computing each locality’s annual gas consumption.”

    It seems to me that the PRTC interest in motor vehicle fuel consumption lies primarily in the revenue collected through the 2.1% VRE tax/fee. It is news to me that we are hearing now that PRTC does not use actual figures for the tax collected per gallon, but computes tha amounts for each locality’s consumption using a Per Capita average. What happens to those dollars represented by the Overage/Underage in such a scheme?

    Could this be the reason the Commonwealth Auditor is unaware of this process?

    I am completely confused by this revelation.

  • gramps

    Lest I be remiss, I thank Mr. Logan for his input here and for volunteering to take this issue forward to the PRTC board in an attempt to provide answers.

  • lgross

    the VRE 2009 Financial Statement is at:

    http://www.vre.org/about/Financial_statements/VRE_FY2009_Financial_Stm_2009.pdf

    I’m also befuddled here because the revenue numbers on this financial statement
    cannot be “estimates” but real verifiable dollars as far as I know.

    there’s some AMAZING Numbers in it – On page 51 under Revenues:

    Fed Contributions 14.7 million
    State Contributions 12.2 million
    Local Jurisdictions 17.3 million
    Passenger Revenue 26.0 million

    if you divide the ridership into the total revenues – you get $25 per ride.

    Tell me again how much it costs to ride a Martz Bus or Vanpool per ride?

    so each of us is actually paying MORE than 2.1% if you add in the Fed/STate
    contributions that on the Fed side comes from the 3 cents per gallon Fed Tax and I
    strongly suspect the State contribution also comes from the State 17.5 tax.

    then we see the news that Staford bus/van/car pool folks are being ticketed and towed
    because there is no money for expanding carpool lots – even though these folks pay
    all of these taxes that go into the jurisdictional funding accounts for VRE.

    but I digress…..

    on Page 53 is the jurisdictional contributions

    but nowhere do I see an accounting of the Jurisdictional fund accounts…

    so… who is responsible for showing these accounts – VRE or the Jurisdiction?

  • lgross

    are sold in Spotsylvania from the BPOL data?

    the guesstimate number was about 200,000,000 gallons annually.

    2.1% of that is about 4 million dollars – the estimate provided in the
    FAMPO-provided stuff.

    there are other ways of guesstimating this ball park number also but in this
    gas – just used the 2.1 to seed the calculations to determine how much
    Spotsylvania pays in Fed/State transportation taxes every year:

    if you multiply the gallons by .175 = you’ll get about 34 million dollars.

    the the Fed Tax generates about the same – 35 million dollars

    then don’t forget the other taxes – the 1/2% on the sales tax plus the sales
    taxes on new cars.

    which probably amounts to about 10 million + or -

    so if you add up the fed/state gas taxes – you’ll get on order of about 70
    million a year that Spotsylvania citizens generate.

    The Fed taxes come mostly through VDOT (and some via FAMPO and the
    state Rail and Transit folks) . You can see the VDOT data here:

    http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/tracking_jan10.pdf

    VDOT delivers services to Spotsylvania – maintenance, operations, traffic
    improvements and new construction.

    Nowhere that I can find is it detailed. The best that is available is the
    Fredericksburg VDOT District Budget here: (page7)

    http://virginiadot.org/business/resources/fy-08-supplement-final.pdf

    total VDOT Fredericksburg Budget for 2007-2008 = $157,609,018

    this is for 14 counties and about 500K population.

    if one assumes a per-capita calculation – you get a WAG ballpark number:

    $157,609,018 / 500,000,000 (total district population) * 125,000,000
    (Spotsylvania population) = about 39 million.

    how much that Spotsylvania actually gets is apparently a deep dark SECRET
    for eyes-only and that does not include our BOS, some of whom, have
    advised us to go ask the state for that info.

    Which we have done and we have been told that such info is not calculated
    on that basis….

    What I get out of this is this.

    If we don’t know how much we get back right now but we do know we don’t
    get it all back… then why should any of us sign up for a state level gas tax
    increase?

    it just furthers a totally unaccountable system as far as I am concerned.

    We may not like the idea of looking after our own roads but given the
    choice of paying increased gas taxes that go into a virtual State level black
    hole and having local referendum – the latter is more accountable and I
    suspect if locally administered more cost-effective given VDOT’s penchant
    for speed and flexibility – not.

    For me, this has been the whole import of my involvement in this issue.

    I was looking for some level of transparency and accountability for the funds
    that we already (or will) expend on transportation – roads and VRE and the
    results of the survey are dismaying.

    There is virtually no transparency and accountability – and except for Mr.
    Logan.. apparently not much interest at the BOS level – even though we
    hear frequently oratory to the effort that the State has failed to fund
    transportation.

    “fail to fund” is code talk for increasing the gas tax in my view and my
    simple (simplistic?) thought is – before we go around saying that we need to
    increase the state gas tax – shouldn’t we do a little checking on what we get
    right now?

    Because.. if someone might say.. we need the index the gas tax (now
    ongoing in the GA) or increase it 5 cents – do we have any idea at all what
    kind of dollars would come to Spotsylvania and in what form?

    I think we should know… I think our elected leaders should want to know
    before they would advocate potential funding options.

    that’s all.. I’ll shut up now.

  • loganj001

    Larry, the number of gallons of fuel (gas plus diesel)
    sold in Spotsylvania county in ’08 is 93,130,635. The top
    vendor was Fas Mart. We will have numbers for ’09 after
    the March 1 BPOL filings are received. PRTC used the Per
    Capita Averages to compute Spotsy’s projected revenues.
    I believe our BPOL data will be more accurate.

  • gramps

    I understand your “faith” in those BPOL reports for getting accurate motor fuel numbers. What happens, however, if Cole’s bill to eliminate BPOL is passed and signed in to law? Where will we turn then?

  • lgross

    WOW! My guesstimate is off TWOFOLD! What’s
    2.1% of 93,130,635?

    I get only 1,955,743 dollars…

    hmmm.. I thought the VRE estimate for
    Spotsylvania was about 4 million dollars…

    where am I wrong?

    ???

    p.s. – the BPOL won’t go away… the bill even if it
    passes grandfathers the existing BPOLs I
    believe.

  • gramps

    BPOL tax…YEP, another case of open mouth, insert foot and swallow! Soory.

  • gramps

    Oh…just realized the problem. You have computed 2.1% of 93+ million GALLONS. Got to multiply your result by the average cost per gallon.

  • loganj001

    You are right about the BPOL bill, no effect on current
    Spotsy revenue.
    Multiply the: total gals x average price per x 2% =
    revenue

    Revenue – $1.2m (our subsidy) = net

    The new tax is actually 2.1% at wholesale, but should
    net the same revenue as before.

  • lgross

    not sure I understand this…

    is it this:

    the 2.1% will generate +/- 4 million and the Spotsy VRE Subsidy (this
    year) will be about 1.2m?

    leaving Spotsy with +/- 3 million?

    Are there any plans to use some of that 3 million to address the other
    commuters bus/car/van needs?

    this is the primary reason I was opposed to the VRE – as proposed as it
    said nothing about some equitable treatment of non-VRE commuters
    and in Stafford – it’s become very clear that Stafford considers the net
    money to be for other purposes not the non-VRE commuters as the
    paper reports that the auto/van/bus commuters get ticketed and towed
    because the lot if overflowing and there “is no money” to expand them.

    This is the second part of the accountability that should be provided
    IMHO.

    Spotsylvania should show clearly where the net monies are going and
    not have those monies basically submerged …. as to their use.

    I would have supported VRE if the BOS had given some indication of
    where the net monies would be targeted AND at least some would be
    committed to address the needs of non-VRE commuters.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Bill/Larry: you asked for these fuel tax numbers six months ago and Supv. Logan promised US he would get them from VDOT and make them available for public inspection.

    Now that you’ve peeled back a couple layers of the onion, it’s quite clear the onion odor is the same and still brings tears to your eyes.

    Why should it take this long for any elected official to get this information, especially when it would have shed more light on the VRE and terms of the VRE Master Agreement, BEFORE the vote was taken?

    Does it seem at all strange that PRTC developed these numbers and published them in December 2009 and January 2010 and our County elected officials are only now telling us this data was never in the hands of VDOT, but FAMPO, PRTC and NVTC. Why wouldn’t Supv. Hap Connors, also President of FAMPO have this information readily available for public inspection? Why wouldn’t Supv. Skinner, Pitts or County Administrator Doug Barnes have this information, since they sit on the FAMPO board and are voting members? Simply said, how can so many elected officials be positioned in all matters of government business, throughout the County and State, and still tell us they “don’t know”, but will find out, and six months later STILL DON’T KNOW.?

    Mary Lee Carter is positioned on the State Transportation Board. What does or should she know about the very important 2.1% gas tax agenda and the role it plays in underwriting VRE’s working agenda and funneled funding resources from its individual “participating members?” She chairs the Spotsylvania County Planning Commission and is an invited guest of the Spotsylvania County “FOCUS GROUP” which WE are not. Maybe she could share with us some version of what she invisions as accountability or transparency to the citizen genome of Spotsylvania County.

    Larry, why would you ask your very simplistic question on the issue gas tax, over and over again, still not get a straight answer and be put off again and again, without the slightest credible response from our elected leaders?

    You might want to consider looking at projected vs actual numbers and how 2010 collides with 2008 and 2009 numbers.

    Good hunting.

  • lgross

    Marty, my view is basically that this data should be just as available to citizens as
    most all other tax data but I don’t blame the local elected as the sole block to it not
    happening as this is a longstanding statewide issue with the State fuel tax and
    apparently the PRTC folks don’t see a need to be any more transparent with that tax
    either.

    But as we discovered, this is a specific locality fund where the proceeds of the 2% tax
    id deposited so we know that someone is keeping track and that at some point, VRE
    dips into that fund for their money and then at some point – the balance of the fund
    is accessible to the localities.

    I’m not going to beat up the local elected for inventing this as they did not but I
    would like to see them take more responsibility for fixing it instead of advising
    citizens to “contact the tax folks”.

    All the county needs to do if include those 2.1% monies in it’s annual budget and
    we’d be good to go.

    getting state fuel tax info might take Mark Cole to help.

  • MAVRICKinc

    I’m not suggesting we beat anyone up, but I will not make excuses for our local leadership’s failure to supply us or make available the information we have requested, for more than 6 months.

    What’s so special about Cole or Senator Houck having the wherewithal to supply gas tax information to Spotsylvania County and any other parties of interest beyond that of our own elected officials.

    With Barnes projecting a 3 cent tax increase on property values, with a line item that the VRE membership will bring in $4.3 million in gas tax revenues, how would you or anyone else know the difference, and for that matter what the money is going to be spent on, over and above stimulus monies?

    Isn’t this what you have been asking for over months of haggling and still haven’t received a straight answer from any elected or state official.

    Think of it this way. The people who know or should have the answer to your question have yet to provided US the information. The people I’ve referenced or mentioned should have the answer.

    Why are you so willing to enlarge this circle of officials, and keep adding to their number only to receive the same answer back; “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

    Were you and Bill intending to wait until the next 2012 national election to see who else you could add to the list of people who should have the answer but can’t see their clear to answer a simple question or prefer that you not know, because its privledged information and beyond any notion that the Freedom of Information Act is just another joke, played on the public, to keep them thinking they are involved, when really they are not.

    This is not Tea Party rhetoric. It’s something we’re starting to find in every labeled interest you care to name or imagine. It’s a quiet kind of anger that’s been around a long time. While we may need to point our finger away from the real issues of accountability, responsibility and transparency, WE’VE come full circle and the way back is not about taking another lap around the same old circle, but heading back the same way we came and asking/demanding of our leaders how we got here and into this mess in the first place.

    If your questions continue to be without an answer, then the question is the answer, or is it just polite conversation intended only to obfuscate, without hurting your feelings?

    If you feel so strongly about education and the value of critical thinking, why is it you stop short when the truth is just a step away or just around the next corner? The debate is over (an amenity that underscores your command of what should be mandatory English). The amenity side exposes one to single combat on the field of ideas, making a point, but seeing/hearing both sides of an issue, without having to say “I’m sorry, could you run that by me again to see if I understood you correctly.”

    It’s not a matter of whether someone understood you or not. Most, clearly understand what you say. Most, however, are not prepared to give you a response or answer until they have weighed and measured what part of the truth they wish to provide. You’ve been waiting 6 months. So, who’s to blame for not finding the answer? Or, how long does it take for our leaders to formulate another jig-saw puzzle that leads nowhere?

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