Miami citizens will not have the opportunity to approve a sales tax increase earmarked for street improvement any time soon.

The question of whether or not to include a measure that would raise the current 8.85 percent city sales tax to 9.5 percent on the April ballot was defeated by one vote at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The issue was discussed among the council members and each councilman was given the opportunity to state his opinion concerning the situation.

Councilman John Dalgarn said, “The timing is not real good for a tax increase.”

Rudy Schultz referred to the failure of a similar proposal a few months ago when he said. “I want the proposal to succeed. If we fail twice it is going to make it hard to be successful in the future.”

Terry Atkinson agreed that the streets need to be improved but did not agree that this was the time to bring the question to a vote.

During the discussion, Mayor Brent Brassfield and Councilman Scott Trussler acknowledged a decline in sales tax revenue and that the Miami utility customers would be paying more for their utilities in 2010. The majority of the increase was due to an increase in rates from the GRDA, and will not benefit the city.

Brassfield said, “…[costs] are going to get worse. We are going to pay twice as much if we don’t get a handle on things. Communities that do not maintain their infrastructure can find they have nothing to maintain.”

Brassfield and Trussler voted to put the question on the April ballot. Dalgarn, Schultz and Atkinson voted no.

It will be Fall before the issue can be reconsidered.