PIEDMONT — Motorists will pay an extra cent per gallon at the pump in Piedmont starting next month, by vote of the City Council Tuesday.

The tax increase, set to start Sept. 1, will bolster the city’s existing 1-cent gasoline tax. The additional penny itself is expected to generate $80,000 annually and was earmarked for street paving.

The Piedmont City Council approved the gas tax increase during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Council members said Piedmont’s previous 1-cent tax was the lowest in the region, so bumping it up would put it more in line with other cities.

Mayor Bill Baker said the extra money would help because many of the city’s streets need to be repaved.

“We have the county commission helping with some paving, and we pave some here and there with gas tax money,” Baker said after the meeting. “This money will definitely help us pave a little more.”

To further help the streets, the council also voted to spend $140,000 to buy a new street sweeping vehicle. The city’s current street sweeper is old and has been in disrepair for some time, Baker said.

“We’ve been without a street sweeper for a while now,” Baker said. “Without it, all those leaves and things block our storm drains … the gutters and curbs are in horrible shape.”

Also during the meeting, the council voted to take out a $570,000 loan to cover the remaining costs on upgrading the water treatment plant and building a well.

“This should take care of everything,” Baker said of the loan.

Last year the council voted to ask the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to approve the loan, which would add to an already $1.87 million loan the agency made available to the city for the two projects. That request was made after the city learned cost estimates for the projects were higher than anticipated when the original loan was issued.

The city water plant, built around 1953, needed new equipment. The plant was last renovated in 1974.

Meanwhile, the well would give the city a new water source. Also, city officials expect the well to reduce overall water production costs, freeing up money to help repay the loan for the project.

The well is expected to go online next week, officials said.

 

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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