Catoosa County manager Mike Helton said, “Every situation is a different climate. There are all sorts of things that might influence these decisions. We feel good about what we have presented in our case.”
Catoosa County is currently embroiled in a fight with its two cities, Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe, over the division of what will be millions of dollars from the sales tax. Unable to reach a solution over the equitable compromise of the one-cent-on-the-dollar tax, the issue was sent to superior court at the end of 2012. The case is on hold, awaiting a judge to be assigned.
The Albany Herald newspaper reported, “in what may be a landmark decision,” Georgia senior judge O. Wayne Ellerbee ruled that the special arbitration case involving some $886,000 in annual revenue should be split between the cities of Ashburn, Sycamore and Rebecca and the county. Turner County officials had hoped to maintain their current 65 percent over the next decade.
According to Helton, the current split in Catoosa has approximately 70 percent, about $6.65 million, going to the county, with $1.9 million (20.47 percent) going to Fort Oglethorpe's coffers and $900,000 (9.47 percent) to Ringgold.
The cities initially proposed that the county share should be cut to 61 percent over the next decade. However, county officials responded with a proposed increase to 79 percent of the tax dollars going to Catoosa.
Helton said that the LOST generates approximately $8-$9 million in sales tax dollars over a 10-year period. The county and cities depend on the tax dollars to keep from raising property taxes and to make their daily operating budgets more viable.
County commissioner Jim Cutler echoed Helton's sentiments, saying at this point he would not put a lot of stock in what's happening in south Georgia affecting the outcome of Catoosa's arbitration.