Gas tax hike in Osceola County goes into effect

By Stephanie Bechara , Osceola County Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 01, 2016

With the new year comes new changes in Osceola County. Gas taxes increased by 5 cents Friday.

Vernon Comney is the owner of Extreme Jet Ski in Kissimmee. He spends about $300 a day in fuel for his business.

“I gotta pump gas, I gotta pump gas if I want to move, because if I move, I am making money,” said Comney.

On a typical day, Comney fills up about 10 gas cans and a hike in gas taxes would affect his business.

“Basically we use a lot of fuel and the prices fluctuate quite a bit,” Comney said. “We just hope it stays down.”

Back in March, Osceola County commissioners voted to increase the tax. This gas tax is expected to bring in more than $8.5 million in one year. The money is meant to pave the way for improvements in the county.

County leaders say the tax hike will be used to improve roads and public transportation. The funds would help the county double its pace in upgrading and maintaining dirt roads. LYNX riders would also benefit by seeing shorter wait times between buses.

Some drivers, like Joseph Leech, say they don’t mind the extra 5 cents.

“Five cents increase isn’t really going to hit us right now, but if prices get back up to $2.50, $2.60, $3.00 a gallon, then that 5 cents is really going to start hurting people’s pockets,” Leech said.

As for Comney, he says he hopes gas prices stay down so that his business could continue to grow and ride the wave to success.

“Not much we can do. I can’t control the prices. I wish I could,” Comney laughed.