The initial renegotiating session will be held at 4 p.m. in the board room of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, 200 Northside Dr., Carrollton. The meeting is open to the public.
Carroll County Commission Chairman Bill Chappell issued an announcement of the meeting Monday. The LOST renegotiating team usually includes the commission chairman, representing the county, and a mayor or city manager representing each of the cities. There are no requirements where the meetings must be held, but they are usually conducted in a neutral location.
Every 10 years, county and city officials must re-negotiate the amount of LOST funds each receives based on the new Census data. Other triggers for re-negotiation include formation of a new city, increases in a city population by more than 15 percent or disqualification of a city for LOST revenues. The deadline for filing the new agreements with the Georgia Department of Revenue is Dec. 30.
If a county and cities are unable to reach an agreement within 60 days of starting negotiations, the dispute must be submitted to non-binding arbitration, mediation or other means of conflict resolution. If that step fails, the case is assigned to a judge for a decision. If a decision has not been reached by the end of the year, the LOST tax continues to be distributed using the current arrangement.
LOST was authorized in 1975 by the Georgia General Assembly as a means of providing property tax relief in counties. It is a 1-cent sales tax that must be approved by voters in a referendum. LOST is second only to property tax as a municipal source of revenue, according to the Georgia Municipal Association.
LOST differs from SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax), which is a penny sales tax that funds specific projects and is approved by voters in a county-wide referendum.
Villa Rica, which is partly in Carroll County and partly in Douglas County, is currently in negotiations with Douglas County in determining what percentage of LOST tax the city will receive from that county.
Carroll County residents now pay 7 cents per dollar in sales tax. Four cents goes to the state, with 1-cent each to the SPLOST, education SPLOST and LOST. If the 1-cent transportation (T-SPLOST) referendum is approved by the Three Rivers region voters on July 31, Carroll County voters will pay an 8 cent sales tax. The Three Rivers region includes the counties of Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup and Upson.