Americus Mayor and City Council will continue negotiations to fund city business
Published 11:12 am Monday, June 27, 2022
The Americus Mayor and City Council met on Thursday for their regular meeting. To open the meeting, Kim Egelseer, the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee gave an explanation of what their committee does and a brief history of why this committee is needed. Taylor A’Chante’ Jackson of District Six was chosen as the Honorary Council Member by Daryl Dowdell. City Manager, Diadra Powell was recognized for completing the National Certified Public Managing Certification. The 2022 valedictorian of Sumter County High School, Ian Roberts, was recognized as serving Mayor Lee Kinnamon in the role of intern.
Unusual for a city council meeting, four speakers addressed the council. One specifically addressed Nicole Smith regarding her knowledge of Brookdale Park, another addressed a safety issue in the Easter Morning Community, another addressed the removal of the Nick Smarr/Jody Smith portrait from city hall and another, who serves on the Land Bank Authority, expressed his displeasure of city manager Diadra Powell’s decision to remove Roger Willis as a member of the authority. After 3 speaker’s time expired before they completed their comments, there was talk amongst the council that the public comment policy be brought up for discussion at a future meeting.
The consent agenda passed unanimously and primarily consisted of public works related items. The only discussion held was in regard to Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenues. LOST funds are sales taxes gathered in Sumter County. Once every ten years, all municipality councils within the county along with the Sumter County Board of Commissioners go through a negotiation process to determine the split of the monies collected. All bodies in this pool requested their allotted amount to remain the same for the next ten years, with the exception of Desoto and Americus. When an entity requests their portion be changed, it has the potential to affect all county and municipal allotments. As it stands now, the rates agreed to, in round numbers, are Americus 44%, Andersonville .85%, Leslie 1.4%, Plains 1.8%, Desoto .6% and the County of Sumter, 51%. As is clear from these numbers, 95% of the funds go to Americus and Sumter County.
Kinnamon mentioned that Desoto would like to see a full 1% of the taxes, which would be a .4%increase. Kinnamon also indicated the City of Americus would like to see a 3% increase to bring Americus’ total allotment to about 47%. With Americus and Desoto wishing to increase, another governing body would have to decrease. Kinnamon states there are 9 factors to look at in determining if the county or a municipality has a right to increased amounts. Kinnamon stated one of these factors is where the tax is actually generated. Kinnamon and Powell report that the City of Americus generates over 90% of these taxes. Dowdell reminded the council that while the tax may be generated in Americus, citizens who reside in the county or another municipality contribute to those taxes. As an example, Wal Mart brings in a significant amount of sales tax. However, those patronizing Wal Mart are not limited to citizens who live within the city limits of Americus, and residents outside the city limits are contributing to the tax collected.
Outside of Americus, Sumter County receives a large portion of these taxes. Sumter County, at the initial LOST meeting, has stated they are not desiring their allotment to change. There will need to be negotiations for the municipalities and the county to come to a reasonable distribution of the funds. If a municipality is not able to receive their desired allotment the governing body will have to decide what, if anything, they will have to do to meet the needs of the citizens. An option will be to raise the mill rate and property owners will bear this cost. There is another meeting to negotiate the rate. The meeting will be open to the public and will be held on July 11 at 6pm in the Sumter County Courthouse.
The council then entered into executive session and when the open meeting readjourned several appointments were made to authorities and boards of the city. After the votes on these citizens were made, the meeting was adjourned.
Mayor Kinnamon as well as council members, Dowdell, Wilson, Smith and Brown were present. Councilmen Pless and Christmas were unable to attend.
Mayor and City Council of Americus are holding their meetings in a hybrid format. While the public may attend the live meeting held at the public safety building, they may also access the meeting via zoom.com. For the meeting number and passcode to enter the meeting please see the city’s website, americusga.gov.
The next council meeting will be held on July 14, 2022. After the agenda is set on 7/14, the city will hold their regular meeting on July 21, 2022. Both of these meetings are held at the public safety building and begin at 6pm.