The mayor told city councilmen Monday night he had received a number of complaints recently about the cost of gasoline in Cairo compared to neighboring communities. He also said he had approached two local business people who sell gasoline to voice his concerns.
“What really struck me was on the way home from a trip and in Virginia gas was $3.23 per gallon. The two people I talked with said locally they go by what Walmart (Murphy Oil) is charging,” the mayor said.
Mayor VanLandingham believes more and more people will soon buy their gasoline outside of Cairo where it is being sold for less.
“It’s something we need to be aware of and an issue you might want to address with those you know in the gas business. Gas is important to a lot of people,” the mayor told councilmen.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas called the mayor out of line and voiced his concern with the mayor getting involved in private enterprise.
“That’s like you coming down to my office and telling me I’m charging too much to prepare a tax return. I purchase a business license and that gives me the right to operate my business and I can charge whatever I want for a tax return,” Councilman Douglas, who is a certified public accountant, commented.
Douglas said it is not the mayor’s business or the council’s business what local operators are selling gasoline for.
The District 4 councilman said it is the public’s right to purchase gas wherever they wish, regardless of whether it is in Cairo or not.
The mayor suggested that the possible loss of tax revenue is a city issue, but Douglas noted gas prices are not.