“My goal as city manager is to avoid mediation if we can and the additional expense and definitely avoid arbitration,” said Kenny Smith.
At the last staff level meeting between the city and county earlier this week, Smith said, “my goal is for us as grown folks to reach an agreement without outside folks getting involved.”
So far, both the city and county have hired experts to go over the numbers and present report, with each side have pretty much the same numbers but each in favor of their side, at about a 70/30 split. Currently, the split is the Local Option Sales Tax proceeds used to offset property taxes is 60 percent for the county and 40 percent for the city.
The LOST is a major source of operating revenue for both the county and city, where as a special purpose local option sales tax has specific projects. By state law, for a county to have the 1 cent sales tax, it has to come up with a plan to share the proceeds every 10 years, based on population following the census as well as services provided, short and long-term debt, points of sale, and inter-governmental agreements.
(For the complete story, see tomorrow's print edition.)