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Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) Update

Fulton and 15 cities reach agreement over millions in sales tax revenue (Nov. 9, 2022)

Fulton County and the mayors of 15 cities have reached an agreement on the distribution of Local Option Sales Tax revenue over the next 10 years. Under the new terms, Fulton County’s portion of the Local Option Sales Tax will increase from the current share of 4.98% to 12.5% over the next decade. Fulton County expects to net $383 million over 10 years compared to $191 million the county would’ve received under the former agreement, a Fulton statement said. Read more.

Fulton leaders refuse cities' transparency efforts on sales tax talks (Sept. 23, 2022)

The 15 cities of Fulton County this morning presented its plan for renewing the Local Option Sales Tax for the next 10 years in open session while county officials argued its case to the mediator behind closed doors. The cities have offered the county an additional $51 million to cover the healthcare services. The county, meanwhile, is insisting on a massive increase of $380 million without offering any details on how the commission would spend that money – a cost that would come at the expense of city taxpayers. Read more.

LOST Town Hall (Sept. 21, 2022)

LOST Presentation
Town Hall Presentation [PDF]

Contact your Fulton County Commissioners

Provide your feedback on the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). Let your voice be heard by the Fulton County Commission by contacting 404-612-8000 or email the commissioners:

LOST Background

The Fulton County Commissioners have proposed an increase to their share of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) from five percent to 35 percent, which is a 600 percent increase. This increase would create a massive hole in the City of Johns Creek’s budget. This would decrease the percentage of LOST funds that the City of Johns Creek receives from the current 7.71 percent down to 5.32 percent. This would represent a decrease of more than $7.7 million.
Should the county’s proposed increase take effect, Johns Creek would have to raise the millage rate by 1.58 mills from 3.986 to 5.57. This will severely impact all cities and all property owners of Fulton County.   All 15 Fulton cities are opposed to this proposed increase.  The City and County representatives will continue their negotiations in the coming weeks.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

LOST 101: The Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) is a 1% sales tax distributed between Fulton County and the cities in Fulton County. Every 10 years, the cities and Fulton County must renegotiate LOST distributions by law. The funds from LOST help cities like Johns Creek pay the cost of vital services such as fire, police, transportation, parks & recreation, and other services. These LOST funds help keep property taxes down for all taxpayers in Fulton County.

Fulton County has proposed that their share of LOST be increased from 5% to 35%, a 600 percent increase. Because 40 percent of the city’s budget comes from LOST revenues, this shift will crater the city’s finances. Filling this gap would require either dramatically raising property taxes and/or severely cutting services. All 15 Fulton cities are united in their opposition to this proposed increase. On Friday, July 29, 2022 the cities will present their LOST distribution proposal at a negotiation meeting with the Fulton County Commission.
LOST Graphic

Friday, July 15, 2022:

Today, Fulton County Board of Commissioners asked the 15 Cities of Fulton County to increase the County’s share of Local Option Sales Tax (L.O.S.T.) from just under five percent to 35 percent which is a 600 percent increase. This is a surprising request because in 2012, the County agreed to a negotiated percentage of less than 15 percent. Since that time, the County’s service area has significantly shrunk from approximately 90 square miles to less than two square miles in which less than 1,000 residents live. In reality, the Cities provide essential services such as police, fire, and sanitation to nearly all the residents of Fulton County. Such a drastic shift in sales tax revenues, $95 million per year, will necessitate raising property taxes on nearly all Fulton County residents and businesses at a time when they can least afford it.

The 15 Cities are united in opposition to the County’s position, but the Cities are willing to work with the County Board of Commissioners to reach a reasonable distribution of the sales tax.  The L.O.S.T. is a one-penny sales tax that is used by local governments to pay for the cost of vital services such as fire, police, transportation, parks & recreation, and other local government services, which helps keep property taxes down for all taxpayers in Fulton County. The next L.O.S.T. Negotiations meeting will take place on Friday, July 29, 2022, at 10:00am. During this meeting, the Cities will present their proposed distribution for L.O.S.T.