Valdosta Daily Times

March 12, 2013

City, county reach SPLOST deal

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners and the City of Valdosta reached an agreement Monday on how to divide the seventh cycle of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which both entities will push to appear for a second time on November ballots after its defeat in 2012.

Last week, the city requested that State Rep. Amy Carter withdraw the bill that would have allowed Valdosta to put a MOST or Municipal Option Sales Tax on the ballot, which would have earned a penny in sales tax for the city, who would not be required to share that money with Lowndes County or other cities.

After negotiations over the phone and via email, County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and Mayor John Gayle signed an official agreement for SPLOST VII Monday afternoon.

Per the agreement, the estimated $150 million in revenue gathered through the SPLOST VII referendum will be split six ways, giving 41.6 percent to the county, 53.4 percent to Valdosta, and the remaining 5 percent to Hahira, Remerton, Dasher and Lake Park. The cost of the SPLOST campaign this year will fall on the county.

MOST had represented a “last option” for the city if an agreement could not be reached, or if SPLOST failed.

 “I’m thankful the City of Valdosta and the county have come to an agreement and are willing to work together,” Carter said.

In February, at the Lowndes County Planning Retreat, Slaughter said that the first step in passage of a new SPLOST referendum would be to come to an agreement with the city and then the prioritizing of the SPLOST budget could begin.

One project discussed that city and county officials both have stated would have to be removed from the SPLOST list for the city to receive a larger share for infrastructure improvements is the combined city-county project, the Five Points development with the auditorium and library.