Hart County Board of Commissioners
November 7th, 2002
The Hart County Board of Commissioners met November 7th, 2002 at the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center.
Chairman Joey Dorsey presided with Commissioners R. C. Oglesby, Randy Banister and Ken Brown in attendance. Commissioner Don Burdick absent.
· Chief Appraiser Margaret Crossley reported that the Department of Revenue would not accept the five-year tax digest history and millage rate advertisement that ran in the Hartwell Sun. She explained that the date would have to coincide with the meeting date that the millage rate was approved. She said the full value, as determined by DOR, of the current appeals is 6.1% of the digest.
Ms. Crossley announced that the Department of Revenue has extended the date to submit the digest and millage rate to December 1st, 2002. She also reported that the Board of Assessors would begin hearing appeals November 11th and should finish by January.
Commissioner Oglesby entered a motion to accept the City of Hartwell's offer of 22% for three years contingent on the City's agreement of utilizing the census figures to distribute the 1% LOST funds after three years. Motion died from a lack of a second.
Chairman Dorsey said that the City did not want to discuss using census figures three weeks ago.
Chairman Dorsey entered a motion to move forward with non-binding arbitration. Commissioner Brown provided a second to the motion.
Commissioner Oglesby stated that the City did not have input in choosing the arbitrator.
County Attorney Walter Gordon remarked that the City's position in May was not to take less than 23% of the tax. He said it was noted at that meeting that the matter could be settled by using an arbitrator. The City officials said they would have to discuss the arbitrator with their attorney.
County Administrator Gary Cobb reported that he contacted GMA and ACCG and that Denny Galis was highly recommended by both groups.
Attorney Gordon stated the County offered high-low arbitration, and the City rejected the offer. He explained that a letter was sent to the City August 19th, 2002 stating that the County had decided to hire Denny Galis to hear the case. The City was given four dates of which Mr. Galis would be available to hear the case. Of which the City responded that the dates would not be suitable.
Attorney Gordon remarked that the City has not raised an issue with who the arbitrator is until Monday November 4th.
Tim Floyd said that when the county residents voted for the 1% LOST it was to be county wide, however, the City of Hartwell residents gets a bigger portion. He commended the Board for proceeding with arbitration. He said if the City doesn't sign the agreement to let it expire. He remarked that people are sick of the bickering.
Council Member David Little said the sole purpose of his motion to request 22% distribution for three years was to get "this mess settled". He said City residents are County residents also. He remarked that if an agreement can be met for three years it would allow the county and the city to get numbers together and they could also get the results from other counties that pursued arbitration.
Dan Reyen said in three years the board members could change 100% where the City Council members stay the same. He said he would like for the county to settle the issue and not postpone a decision for three years. He suggested that there could be a stipulation that at the end of three years the percentage would be adjusted to reflect the census.
Tim Floyd remarked that the issue is not about census and let the City argue their position.
Tom Hardigree remarked that he wants to see what the arbitrator has to say.
Commissioner Banister remarked that he has done research using various formulas and is looking at what's equitable for all taxpayers. He said the arbitrator would help to get the facts and resolve the issue.
Attorney Gordon gave the history behind the 1%LOST distribution.
Commissioner Oglesby had to leave the meeting for personal business in Greenwood S.C.
David Little asked if the arbitrator says the City should get 28% would the county be in agreement. Commissioner Banister stated that if the arbitrator says the percentage should be higher he would not have a problem with it.
Chairman Dorsey called for the vote. The vote carried 3-0.
Chairman Dorsey said according to the City of Hartwell minutes that the City officials did not have a problem with Denny Galis.
County Administrator Cobb said the Department of Revenue recommended proceeding with arbitration.
Chairman Dorsey reported that if the current 1%LOST distribution could not be settled the tax would expire and it would have to go before the voters for approval for another 1% tax. He said a new 1% LOST would not tax grocery-related items, which would make an impact on the revenues derived.
Tim Floyd asked that if anyone has reviewed the value of services the City provide Vs the County.
Administrator Cobb remarked that the City Manager and himself were not given the go ahead to proceed with the study.
Commissioner Brown entered a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Banister provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Joey Dorsey, Chairman Lawana Kahn, County Clerk