After four months of negotiations, Fulton County and its 15 towns have reached an agreement on the distribution of Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue over the next 10 years.
The board of commissioners approved the deal at its Nov. 2 meeting, a county spokesperson said in a news release.
LOST County’s share will increase from 4.98% currently to 12.5% over the next decade. Sales tax generates 1 cent per dollar on retail sales within county lines and in each city.
Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said the county’s share averaged 9.985% over the 10-year period.
“I’m just glad it’s over. I think we probably negotiated the best possible deal,” Paul said.
Fulton County will receive about $383 million over the next 10 years, up from the $191 million it would have gotten had its share remained at 4.98%.
“We are pleased that the cities have recognized the importance of Fulton County’s services to our citizens and the extraordinary needs we face,” Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said. “This agreement does not meet all needs but is a positive step forward.”
Paul said an attorney representing the cities told them the best to hope for was a 15% share for the county, but they managed to get it below 10%. He called it a pretty good result under the circumstances.
Cities are projected to get $3.46 billion in LOST revenue during this time.
Cities must now work out how their 90% average share is distributed among the 15 cities, which he said will be completed by the first day of the week.
The department and the cities are required by law to renegotiate the distribution every 10 years. Negotiations began on July 1. Once the negotiations did not result in an agreement, the two parties went to mediation. After the failed October 7 mediation session, the towns initially did not meet with the county and held a press conference calling the county’s position “irresponsible and reckless.” Pitts sent a letter to the mayors asking them to resume talks.