BROOKINGS – Brookings City Council discussed gas prices in the city during its study session on Tuesday, but there was no comment from the public.
City manager Paul Briseno said there was a state excise tax of about 30 cents per gallon across the state.
As he wrote the agenda memo, Briseno said Brookings gas prices were lower than the national average and lower than the state average.
“There are communities nearby that are about 10 to 50 cents lower than us,” Briseno said.
There is no sales tax on fuel, he added.
The city is responsible for maintaining the roads in the community, which costs between $ 4 million and $ 5 million a year, Briseno said.
“The state uses this 30 cents excise tax on its own roads and building bridges and infrastructure across the state,” Briseno said.
“We haven’t found any laws that allow communities to regulate the price of fuel, and I would like to note that we have invited a number of local gas stations to join us tonight,” said Briseno.
Alderman Joey Collins thanked Briseno for the information.
“I’m kind of disappointed that no one came to talk about it today,” said Collins, admitting that the council cannot regulate the prices of products sold.
“I thought it would be a great platform to start the conversation; Everyone talks about what it looks like over coffee or dinner, ”said Collins.
“I know that I was asked about that too. As you said, Paul, Brookings County is below the national average; However, I cannot answer the question why the cities around us are much lower than here, ”said Collins, thanking the staff for their research.
Councilor Holly Tilton Byrne asked Briseno if there had been any discussion with gas station owners when the city reached out to her.
“The message I was given is just that they did not choose to attend,” Briseno said, adding that one was by email, another was by phone, and that Collins reached out to someone else who chose not to participate.
Briseno said he lived in three university towns and “I can tell you that the price of fuel has always been five to ten to 15 cents higher than in the surrounding communities. … It’s just the market. “
Councilor Wayne Avery said he traveled to Aberdeen over the weekend and took a detour through a few smaller towns west of Brookings. He found that there was only a dime spread on fuel prices.
“We were kind of like Clark and Aberdeen,” he said, noting that Volga was about a cent cheaper.
“I’m surprised how many people get upset about this,” said Avery.
“I’m filling up at a gas station because it’s on the way home; I don’t think I necessarily look at the price, but a lot of people do and go to another community to get gas, ”he said.
When people leave town, money is taken away from local gas stations.
“If you sell half as many gallons … you still have to pay the bills,” Avery said.
He said using a fuel saver card can make a big difference in the price you pay at the pump.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]