Fulton and 15 cities reach agreement over millions in sales tax revenue

Fulton County and the mayors of 15 cities have reached an agreement on the distribution of Local Option Sales Tax revenue over the next 10 years.

Under the new terms, Fulton County’s portion of the Local Option Sales Tax will increase from the current share of 4.98% to 12.5% over the next decade. Fulton County expects to net $383 million over 10 years compared to $191 million the county would’ve received under the former agreement, a Fulton statement said.

The agreement was approved Nov. 2 and this week cities have started holding special-called meetings to approve the distribution.

The cities are projected to receive $3.46 billion in revenue from LOST over the next decade, the statement added.

Fulton has wanted a greater share of LOST — a penny sales tax in which a portion is allotted to local governments — to addressed an increase in needs in the court system, jails, mental health services and more.

Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, College Park, East Point, South Fulton, Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton, Palmetto, Fairburn, Mountain Park, Hapeville, Union City and Chattahoochee Hills use the funds for fire, police and other services.

“It’s been a very, very difficult negotiation,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s probably been one of the most challenging things that I’ve been involved in (during) my 45 years of public life.”

Sandy Springs will receive an average of 9.1% of LOST revenue over a 10-year period according to a resolution approved by City Council Monday.

While the portion of LOST revenue cities receive will decrease each year, the cities could still receive more funds than in the previous 10-year period.

Sandy Springs expects to receive $350 million over the next 10 years which is approximately $80 million more than the city received in the prior period, according to its resolution on LOST.

Fulton’s share of LOST proceeds will increase each year.

Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said that the mayors of the 15 cities are understanding the importance of county services.

“This agreement does not meet every need but is a positive step forward,” Pitts said in the statement.