Dougherty County wants to continue current LOST split

Dougherty County Commissioners discuss agenda items at Monday’s morning work session. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

Dougherty County Commissioners discuss agenda items at Monday’s morning work session. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County Commission voted unanimously at a special called meeting Monday to continue the current 40 percent/60 percent split of Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds between the county and the city of Albany.

Under the current agreement, in place nearly 20 years, the city would receive 60 percent of the LOST funds and the county would collect 40 percent. The two parties have been discussing a new percentage split of those funds, but have failed to reach an agreement.

The county’s decision to finally take action comes on the heels of the Georgia Supreme Court ruling that courts cannot settle disputes over the distribution of local-option sales tax revenues.

County Attorney Spencer Lee advised the commission that the court’s ruling could have a negative effect on taxpayers if the two sides did not file a new distribution certificate with the Georgia Department of Revenue before Thursday. Lee stated that if an agreement was not filed, both entities were in danger of not receiving future LOST proceeds.

“This community, out taxpayers, do not deserve a disruption of service,” Commission Chairman Jeff “Bodine” Sinyard said. “We feel very strongly this is the right thing to do.”

In order for any agreement to be put in place, the Albany City Commission would have to agree with the county’s decision. The Albany City Commission is expected to discuss the matter at its work session this morning.

In addition to Monday’s called meeting, the commission also met at it’s regular work session where commissioners learned they will soon have to choose between spending $300,000 to rebuild the landfill’s primary bulldozer or spend $700,000 to purchase a new machine.

Solid Waste Director Scott Addison proposed the board spend $299,467 to have sole source vendor Yancey Caterpillar of Albany rebuild the 2007 bulldozer.

According to Addison, Yancey has the ability to completely refurbish the bulldozer to “like new” condition and provide the county with a five-year, 10,000-hour warranty on the work.

Addison informed the commission that the solid waste department has opted to rebuild other pieces of equipment in the past and feels confident in taking this approach to getting the department’s most heavily used machine back up and running.

“That bulldozer is used from the time we open the gates til we close everyday,” Addison said. “This piece of equipment is not operational.”

Addison said if the county decided to go forward with the rebuild, the department expected to get another six to seven years of use out of the machine.

Before making a decision, however, commissioner Jack Stone wants Addison to investigate the possibility of purchasing a new bulldozer. Stone said that Addison’s $300,000 for a rebuild instead of $700,000 for a new model, comparison illustrating potential cost savings, did not include the bulldozer’s current trade or resale value.

Stone made the argument that if they could get perhaps $200,000 for the bulldozer then it might be worth spending the additional $500,000 to get a brand new machine.

“Three hundred thousand is a lot to spend on a used machine, ” Stone said. “Let’s look at the trade in value. We might be able to get a good deal on a new one.”

Addison hopes to have the machine appraised and get get quotes on buying a new machine after trading in the current bulldozer before the commission’s next scheduled meeting.

In addition to Addison’s proposal the commission also heard from Alice Goseer-Jenkins, county Human Resources Director, about two changes affecting county employees.

Beginning this fall, county employees will be using a new Employee Self Service System to update their records and to enroll in benefits.

The online system will allow employees to complete activities such as updating W-4 information, signing up for direct deposit, change the bank receiving the deposit, change their mailing address and access pay stubs electronically.

Goseer-Jenkins said once employees begin the open enrollment process, her department will be available to walk them through the benefit enrollment process.

The county commission is scheduled to vote on these issues its next meeting on Oct. 21.