Third party could decide Albany, Dougherty Co. SPLOST, LOST funding split
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Albany leaders want a third party to help decide how to split funds between the city and Dougherty County.
The Albany City Commission is wanting an outsider‘s opinion to help move the process forward. They have until next week to make a decision on SPLOST.
“We want to go ahead and tell the county it’s going nowhere. We want to invoke mediation,” said Mayor Bo Dorough.
For weeks now, both the City of Albany and Dougherty County have been going back and forth on how to split both LOST and SPLOST funds.
LOST is funding to cover local governments’ operational budgets. It’s generated from people spending money at local businesses. The goal is to take the burden off local taxpayers. The deadline for a decision on this issue is December.
They have much less time for SPLOST. The purpose of that money is to fund special projects in the city and county.
City Commissioner Chad Warbington said they have until next week to make a decision.
″These coincide every 30 years to have two large sales tax initiatives in front of us. I think it’d be prudent to go immediately into arbitration.” said Warbington.
The idea is to bring in a superior court judge or someone that has no connections to decide what the proper split should be, but that recommendation would be nonbinding. Meaning so neither party has to accept the results. A move Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas calls worthless.
“Because it’s nonbinding. It’s an incredible waste of time and money,” said Cohilas.
He said the county has been willing to negotiate to bring in a third party who argued the county should get a much bigger chunk than they’re asking for.
″No failure to negotiate by the county. It’s the city saying we want what we want. We want and the money that we want because we failed to pay what we were supposed to pay for then, we’re going to complain. That’s not what the people want, and that’s not what the citizens deserve,” said Cohilas.
The county was originally asking for a 64-36 split in the city’s favor, adding that many of their projects are in the city. But the city believes the split should be 70-30 split, still in the city’s favor.
Cohilas said on Aug.1, the county commission will go into closed session about this issue. If they don’t reach an agreement, he said the county can do SPLOST without the city’s participation or they can go into mediation.
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