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Amber Alert

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Truckers boycotting Mt. Vernon diesel

MT. VERNON — A Texas-based trucking company has sent out a memo to its 200-plus drivers and leased drivers advising them to boycott Mt. Vernon diesel, a move the city believes is unwarranted, as the city has provided protection and services to truckers who visit the town.

Earlier this week, an article published in the trade industry publication, Land Line Magazine, quoted Clark Freight Manager David Schnautz of Pasadena, Texas as saying he sent a memo to his drivers and leased drivers advising them not to take on diesel in the city in protest of the 2 cent per gallon tax implemented in September.

In addition, city officials also received an e-mail from Debbie Sprouse of Sprouse and Sprouse Trucking that the city should “have your town own up to their responsibilities in their community.”

Schnautz also asked what truckers are getting for the additional 2 cents, also stating he believes the trucking industry is an “easy target” for taxes, and that, “It is beyond me why government seems to go after the trucker first in order to make up additional revenue to run a city or state.” Schnautz also said truckers are, ... tired of being taxed every time they turn around … because the local municipalities can’t keep their own house in order.”

A response from the city said the comments about what the truckers are getting for the additional tax are “disturbing.”

“The city of Mt. Vernon has provided emergency and protective services to the trucking industry for many years both on Interstates 57 and 64 as well as at the local truck stops,” the response states. “In the last two years alone, the (Mt. Vernon Fire Department) has responded to 114 emergency calls at these locations saving trucking lives and property. In addition to their frequent patrols, the (Mt. Vernon Police Department) has responded to 784 calls to the local truck stops assisting the truckers who have been robbed or harassed by prostitutes and drug dealers.

“Unfortunately for all concerned, the cost of providing these services has increased beyond the ability of our revenue sources to support. The city of Mt. Vernon held off implementation of this tax as long as it could and still provide a high quality of services to those who both live and travel through Mt. Vernon. The city of Mt. Vernon considers the truckers coming through Mt. Vernon part of our community and will continue to provide these emergency and protective services to the trucking community.”

Schnautz commented in the magazine article that truckers should go to Effingham or Marion for fuel.

“Additional comments made by Mr. Schnautz of Clark Freight Lines about buying fuel at Marion and Effingham are distressing from the fact that Marion has had a 2 cent diesel tax since July 2002,” the response stated. “Also, a recent check of fuel prices of the major truck stop websites available via Doug Geeting’s (Keltingco Trucking) website indicate diesel prices in Effingham are 2 to 3 cents higher than in Mt. Vernon.

“We are curious to know that if purchasing decisions are made by the amount of taxes paid or the total price?”