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Peach County Georgia Ordered into Legal Arbitration Over LOST Disputes

Wednesday, October, 24, 2012

Peach County, Georgia cities are resorting to legal arbitration to come to a resolution in regards to the splitting of a one cent sales tax.

The county's Commission Chairman, Melvin Walker along with the mayor of Fort Valley, John Stumbo are claiming government officials to be stuck in an unproductive position as far as the negotiations of the local option sales taxes are concerned. Since the previously held mediation did not come to a resolution, plans are now being made for arbitration.

Walker said, “It's not something that I look forward to, but if that's what it takes, then we'll have to do it.” Georgia requires counties with local option sales taxes (LOSTs) to renegotiate every 10 years based upon the U.S. Census. The taxes are then utilized in order to rollback millage rates for all departments.

Georgia Arbitration Act Requires Parties to Go To Court

Each county's government has 60 days to agree upon the taxes, then another 60 days for mediation, if required. Georgia state law now forces the parties into arbitration after mediation proceeding come up fruitless. After arbitration, a Superior Court judge from another area chooses one side's proposals.

Amy Henderson, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Municipal Association stated, µähe intent of the deadlines is that, by the end of the year, they have a decision.”

Arbitration Attorneys to Begin Working on Proposals

Walker and Stumbo said that their arbitration attorneys have been directed to start submitting proposals and they should petition the court to come to a concluding resolution. Peach county cities Byron and Fort Valley are filing a proposal together as the county itself will be filing its own individual recommendations.

“We were not willing to give the county as much as they wanted, and they were not willing to give us as much as we wanted,” Stumbo explained of the mediation. Walker is not disclosing any details about the mediation, which only held one meeting in September.