Tag Archives: Meeting with Mayors

Videos of Lowndes County and the mayors @ LOST 2012 04 09

Here are videos of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) talks yesterday morning between Lowndes County and the local cities (Valdosta, Hahira, Remerton, Dasher, and Lake Park. Not really negotiations, these were more an exchange of views. The county’s position is the same as Chairman Ashley Paulk told me after the county’s four minute work session earlier that morning: the county could claim 72% of LOST based on cost of services delivered to the whole county, but the county’s offer is to stick with the 58% share from 2002. The cities all would like a bigger share.

The venue was the county’s meeting room next to Commission Chambers. There was no sound feed available in there, so sound is variable.

First County Manager Joe Pritchard explained the state-mandated procedures and Lowndes County’s position, both of which were spelled out in a three page paper. Basically, the county wants to stick to the percentages negotiated in 2002, although by the county’s reckoning it could ask for a much higher percentage.

None of the cities had a written position paper. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle noted Valdosta had grown more than the county as a whole. County Chairman Ashley Paulk responded that the city couldn’t grow without the county growing. The Mayor said nontheless most growth was in Valdosta. The Chairman asked whether that was growth in households? The Mayor said he didn’t know the answer to that right now. The Chairman remarked that according to his reading of the census, it was mostly not in households.

Hahira Mayor Wayne Bullard Continue reading

Lowndes County position on LOST negotiations @ LCC 2012 04 09

Lowndes County Clerk Paige Dukes handed out this document, Lowndes County’s Report for Initial LOST Negotiations: April 9, 2012, at that first LOST meeting yesterday. When I spoke to her later, I mentioned that I thought it was the very model of how to write such a document: clear, complete, pithy, and easily understandable. She did not have a readily-accessible electronic copy, so I’ve posted these scanned images on the LAKE website.

The document includes a summary of the negotiation procedure (60 days to negotiate, after which it goes to mediation, then Superior Court “baseball arbitration”), plus how and how much LOST can reduce property taxes.

The rest of the document is the county’s position, which includes that the county provides services such as sheriff, courts, public health, and animal control that benefit the entire county, and the county could claim 72% of LOST. However, the county is only asking for the same 58% as negotiated in 2002.

A few things I did not know include that the dedicated millage for Parks and Rec (VLPRA 1.5mil) and the Industrial Authority (VLCIA 1 mil) come out of county property taxes, not out of any city property taxes. Also VLCIA’s millage started since 2002, before which VLCIA was funded out of hotel-motel taxes, including Valdosta hotel-motel taxes.

I also remarked to Paige Dukes that I wished the cities had prepared similar position statements. She said they may be depending on LOST negotiating documents by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), and that there were similar documents by the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), both which you can find linked in on the LAKE website.

The ACCG guidelines include this interesting passage:

Continue reading

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, Continue reading