Commissioners voted Tuesday to implement an excise tax that would recoup a state tax credit on energy sales to manufacturers.
The 2 percent tax, which will be phased in over four years, will recoup what the local governments would lose with the total 6 percent state tax is repealed at the beginning of 2013. The local share currently is about 2 percent.
The county will be responsible for collecting and distributing the tax money to the appropriate city. At County Commission’s Friday work session, LaGrange City Manager Tom Hall said the cities and county would lose $650,000 without the tax.
The excise tax will allow the county and cities to continue to collect 1 percent for local-option sales tax, or LOST, which is used to roll back property taxes, and 1 percent for the special-purpose, local-option sales tax, or SPLOST, which is used for capital improvement projects, on energy sales, said County Manager Tod Tentler.
County Finance Officer Scott Turk said the county has budgeted $225,000 in revenue based on expected collections from the excise tax. He noted that manufacturers still will see a 4 percent reduction from the state’s cut of sales taxes.
The 2 percent excise tax will be implemented over four years. It will begin in January as a one-half percent tax, adding a half-percent each January for the following three years.
In another matter, commissioners also agreed Tuesday to pay $12,500 in hotel-motel tax funds for a retail recruitment plan. The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce plans to contract with Birmingham, Ala.,-based Retail Services for a three-year consultation to study retail opportunities in the county, help local businesses and entrepreneurs identify areas of retail need and help facilitate deals with outside retail companies.
The city of LaGrange also has contributed $12,500 and the city of West Point, West Point and LaGrange downtown development authorities and other entities have pledged money for the plan. The total cost for the three-year consultation is $94,850.
Also Tuesday, commissioners:
•Approved extending the current hiring freeze through the end of the year.
•Held a public hearing for a proposal for Jesse R. Landers to operate a personal care home for six people at 8829 Hamilton Road near Pine Mountain. Landers said she has been operating a home a few blocks from the proposed location for several years with six residents, and one resident is the homeowner of 8829 Hamilton Road and offered the larger house as a new location.
One neighbor, Gene Brewer, spoke against the move, worried that it would mean Landers would later request taking in more residents, but Landers said hosting more would require additional certification, which she currently didn’t plan to do. Commissioners will hold a second public hearing and vote on the proposal at the next meeting, set for Nov. 6.
•Held a first reading and public hearing for a proposed 195-foot AT&T cell phone tower on Samples Road in West Point. Commissioners will vote on the proposal at the next commission meeting.