Mayor Brand Tables Gas Tax Spending Proposal After Heated Debate Between Council Members

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City Council members from North and South Fresno are engaging in a war of words over how the gas tax money should be spent. This forcing Mayor Brand to table the project. 

Fresno City Council members, Garry Bredefeld and Steve Brandau held a press conference on Tuesday in response to a press conference held on Monday. 
       
In that press conference, Council members Esmeralda Soria, Luis Chavez, Miguel Arias and Nelson Esparza said SB1 money should stay in South Fresno. Brandau and Bredefeld said ‘no way.’ 

“This is the wrong direction for the City of Fresno, we should be a cohesive group not a divisive group. We should not be pitting one part of Fresno against the other,” said Garry Bredefeld, Council member. 

The tax will provide $12 million to the city for road improvements including bike lanes and sidewalks. Mayor Lee Brand’s spending plan would use this for neighborhoods in South and Central Fresno.

Council members from South Fresno said that part of the city has been neglected for far too long.

Bredefeld and Brandau are calling them out for leaving North Fresno out of the deal. 

“Nobody’s life is more important than another’s, we all deserve safe streets and we all pay the gas tax to make that happen,” said Steve Brandau.

City Council members Soria, Arias and Chavez said in a press conference on Monday, it is simple South Fresno needs the money more.

“It’s not about being equal it’s about equity. If you have cracked sidewalks and streets you should invest it in the areas that need it the most,” said Luis Chavez, City Council member. 

The city risks losing the funding if no agreement is reached by May 1st. 

Brandau will be leaving the council soon to join the County Board of Supervisors, giving those opposed to the mayor’s plan a stronger edge.  

But now Brand wants to have individual meetings with council members to come up with the best solution.

 

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