At Social Circle’s first council meeting conducted by new City Manager Eric Taylor on Tuesday, the City Council discussed moving forward on local option sales tax negotiations with Newton County.
As part of the council’s consent agenda, council members voted to enter into a contract authorizing Rincon consulting firm SDS to assist Social Circle and Newton’s other cities with LOST negotiations. Social Circle lies in both Walton and Newton counties.
“The city has been invited to participate in LOST negotiations with Newton County and the cities of Newton County have selected a consultant to analyze the criteria used to distribute the LOST proceeds that will then be used to help guide negotiation with the county,” Taylor said.
Local option sales tax is a revenue source to help counties and cities in Georgia raise monies for local projects, such as upgrading roads or a community’s downtown. According to the Georgia Municipal Association, counties and cities that currently impose a LOST must renegotiate distribution of the funds from the tax on or before July 1, 2022.
Taylor, who officially began his tenure with Social Circle on July 6, met with other city managers and mayors on July 16 to discuss LOST negotiations. Social Circle Mayor David Keener also attended the meeting.
The consultant’s contract costs $33,600, with the expense to be split among the cities in Newton County. Social Circle’s portion of the consulting fee would be $2,820.
Keener commented at the council’s work session earlier this month that the city is expected to grow and some of the commercial growth will likely occur on the Newton County side.
“It’s an investment in the future,” Keener said.
Council members also tabled authorizing an engineering study for a proposed parking lot downtown that sits on property owned by the United Methodist Church. The church has an old lease with the city regarding the proposed parking spaces.