LOST is lost in Turner County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

LOST is lost in Turner County

December 30, 2002

One penny of every dollar these cashiers are ringing up in Turner County is supposed to go back to the county and cities of Ashburn, Sycamore, and Rebecca. It's the Local Option Sales Tax, LOST for short, a very appropriate name for these communities, because come Midnight the projected 8.4 million dollars it would generate over the next ten years will be lost.

"Even revenues already collected would revert back to the state doesn't come back to Turner County."

The reason, the county and cities couldn't decide in time on who should get how much. So now no one will get anything.

But the tax didn't go away without a fight, after months of negotiations each side came together one last time. The county had its proposal, the cities had their own. Then a glimmer of hope for those hoping to save the tax, when Ashburn's mayor signed a proposal to keep things in the middle the way they've been. But after a day of waiting the county said no.

"Believe county doing an injustice here, cities use funds to operate on," Wayne Woodruff, Mayor of Sycamore said.

Now everyone left with some difficult decisions of budget cuts,

"We have choice of increasing property taxes, reducing services, raising cost of services, or a combination of all the above," Hunnicutt said.

The tiniest town, Rebecca, now even faced with the possibility of losing its charter.

According to the Department of Revenue, the only other county who took negotiations of sales tax dollars into the final day was Bacon County, with it's county seat of Alma. Officials there couldn't be reached to see if they settled things in time. Dozens of other Georgia counties, including Dougherty worked their problems out weeks before the deadline.

posted at 5:55 by dave.d'marko@walb.com

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