Shadowy LOST talks tomorrow morning among all the local elected governments @ LOST 2012 04 09

It’s great that the local cities and the county government think they can negotiate how to share Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) money this time without spending a lot of money suing each other like they did back in 2002. It’s not so great that they’re doing it at an unannounced time and place.

Kay Harris wrote Saturday in the VDT, LOST talks set to begin: County, cities to meet Monday,

As required by state law, Lowndes County issued a letter to the mayors of all the municipalities in the county, requesting they attend a renegotiation meeting Monday, April 9 to discuss LOST (local option sales tax) distributions.

“This has to be done and approved by the end of the year in order to stay in place, so we have to start the process now,” said Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk.

Well, that’s interesting. When is this meeting? Ah, the time of day wasn’t included in the article.

There’s a clue in David Rodock’s 31 March 2012 writeup about the Commission retreat,

Financial analyst Harrison Tillman discussed SPLOST funding, including when negotiations would be held. At the end of the day, Commissioners agreed upon meeting with area Mayors on April 9, after an upcoming Lowndes County Board of Commissioners work session.
Well, Monday’s work session is at 8:30 AM. Rumor has it the negotiation session is at 9:30 AM at the county palace.

Hm, “commissioners agreed”: looking forward to the list of which Commissioners voted each way on that decision, as required by the recent Georgia Supreme Court decision.

Also, if the entire Commission is meeting with the mayors, that makes it an open meeting of the County Commission. Yet there’s nothing on the county’s website about this (nor on any of the local cities’ websites as near as I can tell).

Do the articles in the newspaper that don’t say a time of day or a place for this meeting count as official notice? Or maybe it appeared in the official notices? Nope, road abandonment hearings, beer and liquor licenses, but nothing about a meeting with mayors, or a retreat, for that matter.

Of course, the Georgia open meeting law only says the county has to notify the newspaper of record, not that the newspaper has to publish the information. Perhaps the VDT, like the county government, doesn’t want citizens to see the county commissioners, or the city mayors, in action? Even when what’s being negotiated is how they will share around $22 million of our tax dollars?

The county’s $12.5 million LOST for FY 2012, by the way, is more than a third of the county’s total $33.975 million in tax income budgeted for FY 2012.

-jsq

1 thought on “Shadowy LOST talks tomorrow morning among all the local elected governments @ LOST 2012 04 09

  1. Barbara Stratton

    Just another example of how local government entities facilitate custom exceptions to open record rules to counter the inconvenience of citizen interest and input. One day we will understand our vote is all the input they will ever need.

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