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The Local Agenda: County to unveil proposal on split of sales tax funds
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On Monday, Aug. 13 at 10:30, Hall County officials are expected to turn over their proposal for how sales tax money will be shared throughout the county.

After a big vote on a specially purposed sales tax for transportation, I feel the need to clarify that this sales tax has no special purpose. In most cases, it props up local governments’ day-to-day expenses.

The money is charged and collected by shopkeepers and restaurant owners in the county, sent to the state, which then turns it back over to the county.

The county then divvies up the shares, according to whatever agreement has been made with the cities.

Right now, the money is divided based on population.

The current formula has given Hall County the lion’s share — a little more than 75 percent — of the tax’s monthly revenue.

But this year, the local governments have to renegotiate their tax-sharing agreements using new population statistics from the decennial census.

And city officials from across the county are looking to make their area’s property tax digest a bigger factor in determining who gets the most tax.

According to reporting from my colleague Jeff Gill, that proposal would increase shares for the cities and decrease Hall County’s share by about 9 percent, according to one estimate offered in January.

City officials have been gearing up for the talks for several months, even hiring Phil Sutton, the former assistant

Hall County administrator, to stand on their side of the ring.

Hall County hired the Eaves Consulting Group to help with negotiations.

The county kicked off the negotiations, through a letter, sometime before July 1.

All the parties have two months to come to an agreement on how the tax revenue will be shared.

If the talks break down, a mediator will guide the process.

Here’s why you want to pay attention:

Three cities in the county — Clermont, Gillsville and Lula — use the revenues in lieu of property tax.

How the negotiations end up will likely determine if and how much each government will rely on your property tax money to keep its doors open.

Monday’s meeting is open to the public. It’s happening on the second floor of the Hall County Courthouse Annex at 116 Spring St.

Ashley Fielding is the senior political reporter for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:
afielding@gainesvilletimes.com
facebook.com/ashleylfielding
@GtimesPolitics

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