County forced to adopt LOST distribution certificate

County Attorney Spencer Lee says an email came in Friday night and its content warranted a special called meeting. / Jessica Fairley

The U.S. Attorney General has given local leaders an ultimatum to either come up with an agreement on the Local Option Sales Tax or lose the funds altogether.

Dougherty County Commissioners held a special called meeting Monday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss and consider the adoption of a new Certificate of Distribution for the Local Option Sales Tax.

County Attorney Spencer Lee said an email came in Friday night and its content warranted a special called meeting.

The Department of Revenue stated in the memo that each county involved in arbitration over a Local Option Sales Tax split must make a decision by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday. If the information is not submitted to the Department of Revenue by Thursday of this week the department will cease collections of the taxes

The board went into executive session immediately to discuss this matter.

The Dougherty County Commission then voted unanimously for a 60/40 split of Local Option Sales Taxes until 2022.

The county will receive 40 percent of sales tax profits while the city of Albany will receive 60 percent, if the city commission approves the split.

For every purchase in Dougherty County there is a penny that goes to the Local Option Sales Tax.

LOST negotiations began in July of 2012 and Albany and Dougherty County commissioners have been in debate over how to split the money since but no agreement has been made.

"We did have a final offer back in December to the city of the 60/40 split. They did not accept that and it looks like we're down to the wire now," said Gloria Gaines, Dougherty County Commissioner.

Both entities stand to lose money if they don't come to an agreement. Albany will lose about $9 million and the county stands to lose $7 million per year.

"Seven million dollars to the county is in example the entire unincorporated area's budget," said Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission Chairman.

If no agreement is made, officials will have to find funding somewhere else, making it hard on the taxpayer.

Jeff Sinyard said more than likely the money would have to come from another tax that would have an adverse impact on the community.

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