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Paulding County, cities negotiating new split of $14 million in sales tax revenue
by Savannah Weeks
sweeks@neighbornewspapers.com
August 16, 2012 09:04 AM | 1138 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Paulding Commission Chairman David Austin, Hiram Mayor Doris Devey and Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin talk after last week’s meeting.
From left, Paulding Commission Chairman David Austin, Hiram Mayor Doris Devey and Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin talk after last week’s meeting.
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City and county officials met last week to discuss a renegotiation of the current local option sales tax division among the county and the cities of Hiram and Dallas.

As it stands, the county receives 87.16 percent of collected LOST funds, Dallas receives 9.5 percent and Hiram receives 3.34 percent.

Mayor Boyd Austin of Dallas and Mayor Doris Devey of Hiram said they were not pleased with the current split.

Last year, LOST funds totaled about $13.9 million, with the county receiving about $12.1 million and the cities receiving about $1.8 million combined, according to Tabitha Pollard, Paulding County finance director.

Shoppers in Paulding pay 7 percent sales tax, of which 1 percent is for LOST, Boyd Austin said.

It is used for a variety of purposes, including helping local governments offset the need for higher property taxes, he said.

The cities hired Phil Sutton, of Sutton Consulting, to assist them with proposing a new LOST split based on eight criteria listed in the LOST legislation used to allocate funds.

The split can be renegotiated after a census every 10 years, and Paulding County’s split has remained the same since 1992, according to Sutton.

“The unfortunate thing about this law is it tends to highlight sensitive issue that can create some tension among governing bodies,” Sutton said.

The eight criteria are the central business district of each city and the county, which is measured by the daytime population; resident population; existing service delivery responsibility, which is measured by general fund expenses; the effect of change in LOST revenue on debt funding; point of sale; intergovernmental agreements; tax equity; and service delivery and funding strategy.

The new composite LOST percentage shares proposed by Sutton and the cities of Hiram and Dallas based on these eight criteria are 71.5 percent for Paulding County, 17.7 percent for Dallas and 10.8 percent for Hiram.

Sutton stated in a report the rationale for the split was that, “The cities of Paulding County, with more intense commercial and retail development, disproportionately generate more LOST revenue relative to their population when compared to Paulding County.”

Sutton found that the county held 81.8 percent of the daytime population and 89.4 percent of the residential population, but only accounted for 45.8 percent of the adjusted point of sale and commercial digest in the county.

The county and cities have until the end of the month to negotiate the splits. After negotiation, they will have 60 days to mediate the splits, according to Sutton.
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