Street tax backers wouldn’t mind less nail-biting

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Proponents of renewing Richmond’s half-cent transportation sales tax have good reason to hope for less nail-biting this time around.

The issue, the only question on the ballot on Nov. 8, asks voters to approve a five-year extension of the tax, which funds work on city streets and related drainage improvements.

Five years ago, when the tax was last renewed, it won by just two votes – 964 to 962. Dave Powell, now a councilman and chairman of the city’s public works committee, was a private citizen then but said he was at the courthouse the night votes were counted.

“Everybody who was concerned about the streets was really worried, but had a big smile on his face” once the final vote was tallied, Powell said.

The sales tax originally was established in 2001, when it won comfortably, 911-632, according to figures provided by City Clerk Tonya William. Each time it has been proposed it was to be in effect for five years.

In 2006, Powell said the vote was as close as it was because of residents’ complaints, not just about the condition of the streets, but how money was being spent at city hall.

“If you go back five years ago, (voters believed) the money wasn’t being spent as it was intended or wasn’t being spent at all,” he said.


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