invisible hit counter
Tax mediation plans unresolved
It's been nearly a month since Brunswick and Glynn County officials declared an impasse in Local Option Sales Tax negotiations and decided to move on to the mediation phase.

But attorneys for the two municipalities still haven't agreed on the person who will attempt to mediate an agreement, said Candice Temple, the county's spokeswoman.

According to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia website, the mediator should not have any ties with the county or participating municipalities to ensure the mediator has no vested interest in the outcome of negotiations.

Temple said she was unsure why a mediator hasn't been selected yet.

Discussions between the two commissions ended last month after the city and county kept defending their initial proposals on how to share the tax over the next 10 years instead of negotiating.

The tax is estimated to generate $18.3 million each year. Currently, Brunswick gets 35 percent of the tax revenue and Glynn County gets 65 percent.

The city is asking for 37 percent, leaving the county with 63 percent. The county is asking for 81 percent, leaving the city with just 19 percent.

Brunswick and Glynn County are not alone. Amy Henderson, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Municipal Association, said many negotiations across the state have stalled and have either gone to mediation or are preparing to do so.

So far, Henderson said 24 counties have reached an agreement on how to share the tax. There are 159 counties in the Peach State.

Brunswick Mayor Bryan Thompson said he expects the attorneys to make a recommendation on a mediator soon but doesn't have a time line.

Once lawyers representing the city and county agree on a mediator, the selection has to be approved by city and county officials.

Once a mediator is selected, the city and county will have 60 days to reach an agreement. The mediation phase is non binding.

Any decision or agreement must be ratified in a public meeting, according to state law.

If both sides fail to reach an agreement within 60 days after mediation starts, the city and county will have 30 days to initiate the final step called "baseball arbitration."

A Superior Court judge from outside the Brunswick Judicial Circuit will review the best and final proposals presented by the city and county and choose one with no modification.

The 1 percent Local Option Sales Tax is used to keep property taxes down in the city and the county.



View Full Site