No agreement reached yet in negotiations regarding Local Option Sales Tax

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Debate continues over how 100-million dollars in tax revenue will be spread across Chatham County.

County and municipal leaders decided the next step would be mediation through attorneys after discussions didn’t yield an agreement over the summer.

The Mayor revealed today during his weekly news conference that mediation actually began late last week in the negotiations surrounding Local Option Sales Tax.

But Mayor Johnson says no agreement has been reached yet, so the talks will have to continue.

“We have to get LOST done. We must get LOST done. And we have to do it with as less harm to our residents as possible.”

In mid-July, all eight towns and cities within Chatham County proposed a 77/23 split of just over $107 million in projected LOST revenue, with the municipalities receiving the majority.

The county countered with a 50/50 split, arguing that ratio would allow for a tax rollback for residents county-wide.

But the cities, including Savannah, believe a 50/50 split wouldn’t benefit their residents, and result in them having to pay a higher tax at the city level.

“We are trying to keep taxes low for as many residents as possible, in this case, the majority, the vast majority of county residents which live in a city.”

And Mayor Johnson said failure to come up with an agreement isn’t an option.

“This is a big help for us. It is a big help for our businesses to help keep their bottom lines in check. It’s a big boost for folks that come here, that take advantage of our variety of amenities Savannah has to offer.”

The LOST negotiations, which come around every ten years, have to be completed by the end of the year. Failure to do so would result in a county-wide property tax increase.

There’s no word on when county and municipal leaders will meet in mediation again.