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      Valdosta ratifies LOST agreement

      As a result of the agreement, Lowndes County will retain 58 percent of the LOST proceeds, and the five cities will split the remaining 42 percent say authorities. / File


      Officials with the City of Valdosta has announced that they have ratified the LOST agreement that has been in effect since 2002 once again.

      They say that the Valdosta Mayor and City Council met in executive session on Oct. 10 and authorized Mayor John Gayle to agree to keep the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) distribution the same as the certificate that has been on file since 2002. The mayors of all five cities also signed the certificate, which Mayor Gayle presented on behalf of the cities to Chairman Bill Slaughter on Oct. 11. On Oct. 15, the Lowndes County Commission met and agreed, as well, to leave the distribution percentages the same. In a Special Called Meeting on Oct. 17, the Valdosta Mayor and City Council met briefly to ratify the agreement that prevents the LOST revenues from lapsing for the benefit of citizens and the continuation of local government services.

      "Our first responsibility is to the taxpayers of the city and the community as a whole. We feel, with so much at risk, we have made the right decision in the position we were put," said Mayor Gayle in the release. "While none of us like taxes, they are necessary. The LOST is perhaps the best and most fair tax for taxpayers, because for each dollar of sales tax collected property owners get a dollar for dollar rollback in their property taxes."

      Although the cities of Valdosta, Hahira, Lake Park, Dasher and Remerton had hoped to reach a more favorable agreement through good faith negotiations, the LOST Certificate agreement has been signed by all five mayors. As a result of the agreement, Lowndes County will retain 58 percent of the LOST proceeds, and the five cities will split the remaining 42 percent say authorities.

      The five cities have committed to the agreement and will abide by the action taken by the General Assembly next year.

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