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Posted on: July 21, 2022

Press Release: Tifton wants mutual benefit, Tift wants mutual harm

Tifton Georgia The Friendly City


July 21, 2022

Mayor: Tifton wants mutual benefit, Tift wants mutual harm

As the City of Tifton seeks to return to negotiating the renewal of the Local Option Sales Tax, Tift County responded Wednesday by doubling down on its threat to let the LOST expire as leverage in ongoing lawsuits. Tifton Mayor Julie Smith said the Commission’s plan to let the sales tax expire would harm the entire county and all of their constituents.

“The City of Tifton is issuing calls for negotiations on an issue that benefits the county and all its cities, and the county just issues ultimatums, threatening a policy change that would hurt all Tift citizens as leverage in ongoing lawsuits,” Smith said. “The county’s position is that we’re willing and able to harm the entire county, so long as the cities feel most of the pain. Property owners and business owners in the county are played as pawns here. The county has said it has the reserves to bridge the gap in revenue, but I’ll remind the Commissioners that money in reserves comes from the taxpayers they’re hurting.”

State law requires that all counties renegotiate how it distributes money from LOST, a sales tax used to lower property taxes, after every census to reflect population changes. Mayor Smith points out that the county gets a good deal from Tifton.

“In all of Tift County, 84 percent of business and occupational taxes come from the City of Tifton,” Smith said. “That means that the vast majority of sales tax revenues to the county comes from within the city limits. Of that, Tift County gets more than 61.98 percent while Tifton gets just 33.33 percent. In other words, they’re threatening to do something that’s bad for the city but even worse for the county. It makes no sense and shows no respect to property taxpayers.

“The lawsuit can be resolved in time through the courts for a fair and just adjudication of the issues. The LOST negotiations must proceed now. LOST has nothing to do with the lawsuits. For the good of all taxpayers, I’m once again asking county leaders to join us and the mayors of Ty Ty and Omega on Monday night at 5:30 p.m. at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center.” ####


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