The LOST is a 1 percent sales tax initiative that is to be levied by a local municipality or county in order to relieve property tax for residents, according to the Georgia Municipal Association.
The tax, according to GMA, was authorized by the General Assembly in 1975, so that local governments would have funds for local services.
“The local options sales tax is a reduction in property tax,” said Calhoun City Administrator Eddie Peterson. “That’s how it was set up, so it funnels back into the general fund.”
He explained that LOST, a major source of revenue for the city, is built into the budget as a line item.
He explained that the negotiation process involves the county and all municipal governments here.
In order for LOST to be distributed properly, Calhoun, Resaca, Fairmount and Gordon County, all have to agree on what percentage of the LOST general fund goes to each municipality and to the county, he said. Negotiations will soon be underway between each municipality and the county in the upcoming weeks.
One of the most important parts of negotiations is ensuring that all parties are complying with House Bill 489.
“House Bill 489 was put together, so that cities and counties wouldn’t duplicate services,” explained Peterson. “Every service we provide, and that the county provides, is to make sure citizens aren’t being double taxed and are being served.”
The LOST agreements are based on a 10-year period, he said. The county acts as the leader when in comes to the agreement process, and can choose to call a negotiation or amendment if deemed necessary during this time period, however. The LOST taxes are imposed on the sale of motor fuels, and in most counties, LOST taxes apply to the sale of food and the sale of alcohol, according to the GMA.
Revenues generated from LOST can be used by counties and cities to finance capital for local services, according to GMA.
For more information on LOST, visit www.gmanet.com.