Addressing a tax crisis: City of Tifton calls out Tift Co. Board of Commissioners

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Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 8:36 PM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - There’s been a legal dispute between the city of Tifton and the County Commissioner’s Office since 2018. The city is saying if they don’t get this dispute resolved it could affect the money in your pockets.

The dispute is over tax dollars. Every 10 years, local option sales tax also known as LOST dollars is negotiated between the city and the county to decide who gets what. Currently, the city gets 33% and the county gets 66%. The city is asking for more.

Mayor Julie Smith appealed to the public in a news conference Monday. She says the county commission refuses to negotiate.

“Rather than having partial court to decide the merits of the claims between the City Of Tifton and the Tift County Board of Commissioners, the county has decided to use its powers under state law to hold the City Of Tifton hostage,” Mayor Smith says.

Both Tift County and the City of Tifton have filed lawsuits against each other. In a demand later to settle the lawsuits, the county issued an ultimatum saying if Tifton doesn’t agree to its terms it will end local option sales tax. Ending LOST dollars means higher taxes for everyone.

City manager Pete Pyrzenski says if this is carried out it would not just hurt the city residents, but also business owners, and those in unincorporated areas.

“At millage rate of 9.3 currently. You would almost have to double that to make up for the taxes that we would collect so this would have a huge negative impact and that’s something we don’t want for our community,” he added.

I reached out to the County Commission Chairmen Tony McBrayer, he tells me he plans to wait before responding to the mayor’s comments.

City leaders called for a renegotiation meeting with the leaders of the County Board of Commissioner’s Office on July 25 at the Lee Roy Rodgers Center, 315 W. 2nd Street at 5:30 p.m.

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