LOST negotiations with Carroll County, which are being done in conjunction with a new service delivery strategy agreement, began last week and will continue today.
Douglas County’s new offer would still be on a 10-year graduated scale as initially proposed, but the percentage Villa Rica would receive in the first year is 3.67 percent. It would slowly increase to 5.19 percent the last five years and surpass the city’s percentage of the population of Douglas County — 4.22 percent — by the third year. The 10-year average take for the city would be 4.763 percent.
By comparison, the first offer on the table that Villa Rica officials refused to agree to would have only paid the city 1.49 percent in the first year and the 10-year average would have been 4 percent — less than the city’s current population in Douglas County, which the city stated was the minimum it would accept.
Since 2000, Villa Rica has received less than 0.69 percent in LOST proceeds from Douglas County though the city’s population in Douglas has grown from a couple hundred residents to several thousand in the last 12 years.
The council held a special called meeting to discuss the latest LOST offer from Douglas County on Tuesday, but the discussions were held in closed session. Afterwards, Mayor J. Collins made a statement on behalf of the city.
“We continue to work toward an agreement with Douglasville and Douglas County,” he said. “We’re optimistic that progress is being made and some kind of agreement will come forth very soon.”
Collins and City Attorney David Mecklin are scheduled to attend a LOST meeting today with Carroll County Commission Chairman Bill Chappell and other municipal leaders from the county to begin the negotiation process. A meeting last week was primarily to lay out the parameters of the negotiations.
Though the city only had 4.44 percent of the Carroll County population in 2000, its population in the 2010 census was 7.57 percent. Even though the city was receiving more than its population — 6.5 percent — in LOST proceeds over the last 10 years, a documented increase in the population should mean even more LOST proceeds.
“They did not go strictly by population spread in 2000,” City Manager Larry Wood said. “If they had, we would have been at 4.44 percent.”
Council Woody Holland deduced that if the city was getting more, based on a variety of factors, in 2000 than its population called for, then it stands to reason its LOST revenues from the county should be more than its population for the next 10 years.
“So if it was 6.5 (percent) compared to 4.4 (percent), then that means we ought to be at about 9.5 (percent) or 10 (percent) compared to 7.5 (percent strictly for population),” he said.
Another factor that helps the city’s case for more Carroll County LOST dollars is the fact that it boasts 34.1 percent of the county’s industrial tax base and 17.37 percent of its commercial tax base. Overall, the city is responsible for 11.32 percent of Carroll County’s tax digest.
“I would hope that we would get more than we are currently receiving, understanding that a lot of county residents do come into the city to buy goods and services and products,” Collins said. “The burden of providing the infrastructure to allow those businesses to operate is resting on the shoulders of the taxpayers of the city of Villa Rica.”