The action came at a 6 p.m. called commission meeting — the BOC has cancelled its regularly scheduled Dec. 4 monthly meeting.
Villa Rica city officials, who had been holding out in past weeks, gave their blessings to the agreement after receiving an increase in their city’s share from 7.57 to 7.85 percent, following discussions Thursday morning with the BOC.
A LOST agreement was first brought before the BOC on Sept. 4, but at that meeting, the board voted to let the process go into mediation. The mid-October mediation talks failed to come up with a formula to satisfy all entities, so the ball was put back in the county’s court. Since then, the county has met with the individual cities, drafting intergovernmental supplemental agreements with some of the cities to make their share more agreeable.
The county and cities need to get a LOST agreement in place before Dec. 31, when the county’s current LOST certificate will lapse and the 1-cent tax would no longer be collected. In order to collect the tax again, voters would have to approve a new referendum.
The LOST referendum was passed by county voters in 1977 as a means to roll back property taxes. Every 10 years, the county and cities must meet to decide how the money will be split up, based on the new census data.
The final agreement was passed by a 5-1 vote Thursday, with District 5 Commissioner Kevin Jackson casting the lone dissenting vote. District 4 Commissioner John Wilson was absent .
The BOC approved the following division of LOST funds: Carroll County 58.32 percent; Bowdon 2.5 percent; Bremen 0.32 percent; Carrollton 24.36 percent; Mt. Zion 1.53 percent; Roopville 0.2 percent; Temple 3.82 percent; Villa Rica 7.85 percent; and Whitesburg 1.1 percent.
Jackson made a plea for the BOC to raise Roopville’s amount from 0.2 to 0.4 percent.
“Roopville is one of the few municipalities in the county that does not have a property tax,” Jackson said. “They’re dependent entirely on these LOST revenues. Their revenue will be cut in half. No city in this county can take that kind of cut.”
Roopville supplies its residents with the services of garbage pickup, water supply and street lighting.
“Every other city has received the same or more except for Roopville, who is completely dependent on this tax,” Jackson said.
But commission Chairman Bill Chappell countered that Roopville is not hurting for money, and recently had a Department of Community Affairs audit of its bank account, which showed $432,000 in it. He said, for a city of 217 people, that’s about $2,000 for every citizen.
“It appears to me that they’re just accumulating money,” Chappell said. “That’s not the purpose of this tax. I will vote against the increase.”
Jackson’s motion to amend the master agreement to give Roopville the addition received only a 3-3 vote by the BOC, thus failing to get the needed majority to pass.
The board also passed, by a 5-1 vote, with District 2 Commissioner Vicki Anderson opposing, a separate service delivery agreement which spells out the services that the county will provide the individual cities.
Anderson asked that the service agreement be tabled so that the commissioners could look at it closer before voting.
“This has never been discussed with us,” Anderson said.
Chappell countered that LOST work sessions had been held to discuss the service agreements, with only himself and two other commissioners attending them.
Anderson’s motion to table drew a 3-3 tie, with District 3 Commissioner Ashley Hendrix and Jackson joining her in a vote to table. Chappell, District 6 Commissioner George Chambers and District 1 Commissioner Trent North voted against tabling.
The service agreement gives the city of Carrollton compensation for providing fire service to county residents in a 23-square miles near the city limits and gives the city of Mt. Zion a pro-rata share for the recreation services it provides its residents.
In other business Thursday night, the BOC approved by a 4-2 vote the purchase of two 2013 GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab pickup trucks. Anderson and Jackson cast the two dissenting votes against the purchase.
Chappell said one of the new vehicles will go to newly elected commission Chairman Marty Smith and the other to road superintendent Charles Pope. He said the vehicles being replaced will be handed down to other officials, with the oldest vehicles in use being retired from service.
David Tisinger, appointed by the Probate Court to act as the conservator for the estate of Shirley Stallings, asked the BOC to consider possible purchase of the Stallings building located on Newnan Street, near the new courthouse.
“I learned that you apparently had a desire at one time to buy the building to be part of the courthouse complex,” Tisinger told the group. “I understand the price was very high, and consequently, the city or county didn’t feel compelled to buy it.”
Tisinger said that happened before he was involved with the estate and he hopes the county might again be interested, saying he “is willing to be reasonable about the pricing and timing” of the purchase.
Hendrix made a motion to table any action, saying the BOC needs time to discuss the proposal and look at all the facts. The BOC then voted to table by a 5-1 vote, with Jackson casting the dissenting vote.