The voters of the county should not vote to approve a new 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) unless the City of Dawsonville agrees to a much lower share of that tax and agrees to a much lower share of the 1% Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). If the City share is reduced, those funds can be shifted to the Sheriff to provide more security to the whole of the county without increasing taxes.
LOST taxes may be spent for just about anything. The SPLOST taxes must be spent on capital items like new buildings and other capital items. The City gets 14% of the LOST and about the same for the SPLOST. The bulk of those taxes are collected from the commercial section at 400. The City generates only between about 3% to 5 % of those funds.
LOST shares between the County and the City are required to be re-negotiated every ten years in conjunction with the census. If a negotiated agreement is not reached, the tax may be set in arbitration or it may lapse. Shortly the SPLOST referendum will required to be approved by the voters. If a substantially different sharing rate is not made between the City and the County for both taxes, the voters should vote the SPLOST tax out.
These taxes where created by the state government with the expressed purpose of preventing the increase of property taxes. Today they are simply considered as just another source of funds. The City, unlike almost every city in Georgia, collects no property taxes and lives off grants and the SPLOST and LOST funds. Unlike almost every city in Georgia, its has no police force of its own.
Population growth in general and the commercial growth out on 400 has increased the need for more security by the County Sheriff. We are importing a lot of crime into that business area. That means we need to fund the Sheriff so that he may provide more protection there and out in other sections of the county. We need to find those funds without raising taxes.
That can be done if the City takes a more reasonable share. The City needs to reduce its share of LOST and lost by 2% per year until it reaches a level equal to the amount it generates. The first year of the new SPLOST and LOST the share of the City would drop to 12% then the next year to 10% and the next to 8% and so on until it reached a level equal to its generation of the taxes.
If the City will not agree to a reduced rate of sharing, the tax payers should vote against the re issuance of the SPLOST and LOST taxes and they should not support any elected official who will not work for a more equitable sharing of these funds.