City, county fail to reach compromise
By Michael Prochaska
The governing bodies of Morgan County and the City of Madison will likely square off in court over their respective shares of Local Option Sales Tax revenue.
The action is called “baseball arbitration” and refers to a “winner-take-all” situation in which a Morgan County Superior Court judge will grant a motion in favor of either the city or county but cannot negotiate a compromise.
At a city council meeting Monday night, Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert said the city has offered to go into non-binding arbitration with the county. The arbitration would bring back mediators from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute and the Fanning Institute for a half-day negotiating session. The meeting would be nonbinding in that either side could elect to go forward to Superior Court, rather than accept the decision reached during mediation.
Though a court date has not been set, the city and county had until Wednesday, Aug. 15 to extend the 60-day period for mediation.
County Manager Michael Lamar told the Morgan County Citizen Tuesday that it was “very likely that we won’t do anything other than baseball arbitration.”
Morgan County is asking up to 77 percent of LOST revenue, while Madison is asking about 51 percent. Madison officials also hired a consultant to help with negotiations at a cost of $8,000, according to a fiscal year 2012 budget amendment.
Printed in the August 16, 2012 edition