(WIVB) — There’s some relief at the gas pump coming for drivers in Niagara County, as county lawmakers voted unanimously to put limits on the gas tax Monday night.
Starting June 1, drivers will notice gas will be a little cheaper, as there will only be sales tax on the first $3 of each gallon. Niagara County lawmakers want this to be their way of helping people save money.
“It used to cost probably 85 bucks and now it’s up to like $125, $130 and if I do that twice a week then I’m done until my next paycheck for anything I’d like to do.” said Niagara County resident Mark Helene.
“Everybody is feeling the pinch. Really no soon you fill up on an empty tank, but we’ve been through worst stuff than this,” said driver David Weber.
This measure will save people around 40 to 50 cents each time they fill up their vehicles in the county.
“Obviously, we’re trying to help the consumers,” said legislator Christopher Robins. “And the gas tax, as well as everything else, is just one of those small things that we can do — and we budgeted it at the beginning of the year. No one thought it would be $4.15 a gallon.”
“So they’ll give us what? Five cents off a gallon? So it’s kind of laughable but they’re trying I guess,” said driver Doug Albone.
“We want the dollars that we’re saving the consumer to end up in the consumer’s pocket,” said fellow legislator Richard Andres. “That’s that main thing, that’s the only reason we’re doing it.”
County officials said reducing the sales tax on gas won’t affect the county’s budget.
“Where we are, comparing budget to what we can give back to the consumers, or keep in the consumer’s pocket,” Robins said. “It doesn’t do us any good January 1 to be raising taxes.”
County manager Richard Updegrove said the county wants to be fiscally responsible, while providing relief for consumers.
“Even though our direction was to provide relief, and we obviously take that very seriously, we also have to make sure that we maintain our fiscal responsibility when it comes to the county budget,” he said. “And we won’t sacrifice fiscal responsibility for the county budget for relief. We have to make sure we maintain that.”
But Updegrove said, starting in June, they can do both.
“We can provide relief to the consumers and we can maintain a fiscally responsible budget.”
Niagara County lawmakers said they expect to see surrounding counties pass a similar motion. The change on sales tax for gas in Niagara County goes from June 1 to the end of the year.