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Sales tax negotiations at stalemate, court will decide portions

Unable to come to an agreement on the distribution formula for the county’s local option sales tax, government officials representing the county commission and the city councils of Peachtree City, Fayetteville and Tyrone are taking the matter to court.

In a joint petition filed Friday, all parties are seeking a final decision to be made by a Superior Court judge.

At stake are each government’s slice of the local sales tax, which is renegotiated every 10 years due to new population measurements taken by the U.S. Census. The net swing could mean a differential of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the governments, depending on which option is selected by the judge appointed to the case.

The cities and the county began negotiations for the sales tax distribution back in March, and after the matter stalled for 60 days, they agreed to submit the matter to mediation. The July 17 mediation hearing, however, resulted in an impasse, leaving the dispute unresolved, according to the complaint.

The next step under Georgia law is to have the case assigned to a judge from outside the Griffin Judicial Circuit, and the county and cities are asking the judge to conduct hearings and adopt “the best and final offer of one of the parties hereto specifying the allocation of the LOST tax proceeds including findings of fact and containing a new distribution certificate to be transmitted to the revenue commissioner of the State of Georgia.”

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More than half of the time during a relatively brief Fayette County Board of Commissioners meeting last week was taken up by more comments regarding the district voting issue.

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