City, county come to terms to file LOST certificate

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LOST Distribution These are the allocations filed with the state DOR by Morgan County: Madison, 22 percent; Rutledge, 4 percent; Bostwick, 0.6 percent; Buckhead, 0.4 percent; and Morgan, 73 percent.

By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

With only a few minutes remaining before the 4:30 p.m. deadline last Thursday, Oct. 17, Morgan County filed a renewed certificate of distribution for Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR), keeping the current allocation of LOST funds static.

Under the allocation on the certificate of distribution sent to the DOR on Oct. 17, Madison will continue to receive 22 percent of the LOST funds, Morgan County will receive 73 percent, Rutledge will receive 4 percent, Bostwick will receive 0.6 percent and the final 0.4 percent will go to Buckhead.

The Oct. 17 deadline was imposed on the LOST negotiations after a Georgia Supreme Court decision on Oct. 7, which announced that judicial arbitration of LOST distribution is not constitutional.

The Georgia Supreme Court’s decision became final 10 days after issuing their ruling – Oct. 17 – thus setting the deadline for governing bodies to submit renewed certificates of distribution before LOST funds were to be forfeited.

City Attorney Joe Reitman and County Attorney Christian Henry both stated that the Department of Revenue acknowledged receipt of the certificate before the deadline.

Reitman added that Morgan County was the last county filing for a certificate in the state to submit their document, which, according to Reitman, “had GMA [Georgia Municipal Association] in a panic.”

The county and the municipalities also signed an agreement for negotiation of LOST proceeds, to take place after the General Assembly of the State of Georgia has the chance to convene and pass new legislation regarding the distribution of LOST funds.

According to the agreement, the parties involved agree to “begin re-negotiations for a new distribution certificate for Morgan County and the four municipalities thereof” once the General Assembly passes new legislation directing LOST fund allocation.

Either party may commence renegotiations by specifying a date and time for a meeting no later than 30 days after the passage of new legislation, unless the new legislation conflicts with that provision. Should the new statute bar that possibility, the county and municipalities will “negotiate in good faith to allocate LOST in accordance with the statute.”

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