WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Palm Beach County is expected to delay a decision on the signs you drive by every day at gas stations, but is there a legitimate reason for a three month delay? It's a question we've been trying to answer for two days.
Some Palm Beach County gas stations are charging between 5 and 10 cents more if you use a credit card. You have to look for small print on the sign to realize this. While the county was close to regulating these signs, a week before a second vote on the issue there are more questions than answers.
What price will you pay for gas?
“When I drive into a gas station I hope the price listed on the sign is the price I will pay at the pump but you never know in Florida,” said driver Chris Coville.
Two Florida counties passed ordinances to make it easier for consumers to know the price they see on the street side sign is the price they'll pay at the pump.
In October, Palm Beach County Commissioners discussed the issue after our investigation into the problem.
In December, Commissioner Hal Valeche told us the proposed ordinance was on the fast track.
“I'm pretty confident my fellow commissioners will pass this,” explained Valeche.
After months of discussions behind the scenes, the deal fell apart a week before the vote in March.
At the time the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association spokesman, Ned Bowman, said, “We talked of an implementation of July 2015 but if you go county by county this should be resolve at the state level and not the local level.”
The deal fell apart a week before the vote in March when gas stations raised concerns about the cost of signs.
“I was surprised. I heard there was some discussion among the retailers about it, but I didn't think that it would come to a postponement,” Valeche told us at the time.
He agreed more time might help resolve the issues. Now, we’re learning there may be a second postponement because the gas industry wants even more time.
“Their claim is that there is at least some level of government, there is a federal standard for gas stations and pricing of signs working its way through the bureaucracy up there," said commissioner Valeche.
While that national weights and measures agency is discussing gas signs, we found it’s not about cash and credit pricing.
After our questioning, the county is now reviewing the need for a second delay.
“Why wasn't the industry brought to the table in the first place. Whose responsibility is that? It's kind of a process question but a good question. A lot of industries monitor our agendas and I think our public safety wrote them at the inception,” Valeche said but added that he wasn’t sure that happened.
Valeche admits most ordinances don't hit this many unexpected roadblocks..
“I think it’s unusual,” Valeche explained.
It's also unusual that I don't hear from the trade group representing gas stations.
The group that asked for this 3 month delay.
But, for two straight days my calls have not been returned.
During our last conversation, Bowman said this is not a county issue but a state issue in his mind.
A bill in the legislature on this issue failed in 2012.
Valeche admits time is running out on delays.
"This can't go on for too much longer," Valeche explained.