County, City Governments In Georgia Approve LOST Distribution Deal

  • Friday, August 5, 2022

Representatives of the governments of Whitfield County and the cities of Dalton, Varnell, Tunnel Hill, and Cohutta tentatively approved a distribution arrangement for funding from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) at a meeting Friday at Dalton’s City Hall. The agreement will now go to the respective governments for ratification at their next scheduled meetings. State law requires county and municipal governments in counties where a LOST is collected to negotiate distribution arrangements for the ten-year periods following a new Census. 

 

The distribution of LOST revenues between the City of Dalton and the other governments will remain at current level over the next ten years, with Dalton receiving 36% of LOST revenues.

There are minor changes in the agreement, with the fees the City of Dalton pays to Whitfield County for stormwater regulatory program administration being reduced and the operations of the Senior Center being taken over by Whitfield County on Jan. 1, 2023.

 

“I’m proud that we’ve worked together to have an agreement within the 60-day negotiation period as required by law,” said Dalton city administrator Andrew Parker. “At a county and city management level between (county manager) Bob Sivick and I, all the way down through the department heads, this round of LOST negotiations has been much more streamlined. And I think it’s just a testament to the great channel of open communication that we have and trying to work together to deliver the best services to the citizens of Dalton and Whitfield County.”

 

Dalton’s share of the LOST revenues increased by one percentage point every other year over the span of the most recent ten-year LOST agreement, from 32% to the current rate of 36%. Thanks to increases in collections of sales taxes driven by the growth of the local economy, the LOST collections have helped local governments avoid tax increases and Dalton leaders expect that to continue.

 

“Particularly in 2022, post-COVID lockdowns, we’ve seen large increases in sales tax collections in the city and in the county because of new businesses. Downtown, all of the downtown storefronts are full. We’ve seen growth out in the West Walnut Avenue corridor from a retail/commercial restaurant service standpoint,” Mr. Parker said. “And that’s all great because it’s a use tax, a sales tax so people who don’t even live in the community are paying it and it’s really helped the city particularly to keep our millage rate for property tax as low as possible.” 

 

The Dalton Mayor and Council’s next meeting is schedule for Monday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m. at City Hall where the council is expected to vote on ratification of the agreement.

 

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