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Hogansville, county discuss admin fee

HOGANSVILLE — The Hogansville City Council voted to accept a SPLOST agreement for 2019 with Troup County, West Point and LaGrange, but with one catch.

The council unanimously voted to approve the agreement with the stipulation that the county lower its administration fee from 1 percent to 0.5 percent. The fee is charged for the bookkeeping of the SPLOST funds, according to Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz.

The current SPLOST agreement, or special purpose local option sales tax, expires in 2018, so the vote was held for the next six-year period, which begins in 2019.   

City attorney Jeff Todd presented updated changes to the SPLOST agreement during Monday’s meeting, but there was nothing in the documentation to reflect a change on the administrative fee from 1 percent to 0.5 percent. Stankiewicz said he had a lengthy conversation with members of the county, including county manager Tod Tentler and county commission chair Patrick Crews, about reducing the fee on Monday afternoon — hours before the Hogansville city council meeting.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot when you say 1 percent but over six years in a $70 million SPLOST that amounts to $700,000. It approaches $5,000 a month, and what they have to do to earn that money is open a bank account, receive one check a month and write four checks a month and reconcile the bank account at the end of the month,” Stankiewicz said. “I expressed my concern and I was told by the county commission chair this afternoon that they were going to reduce that to one-half of one percent, and it’s not on here.”

Todd said he knew nothing about that conversation or that change.

“That’s news to me,” he said.

After a brief discussion, the council decided to vote on the agreement, with the stipulation that the administrative fee be changed.

“You certainly have the option to vote on it with the understanding that that percentage will be modified from 1 percent to half a percent. There would be no problem with approving it with the understanding that change would be made,” Todd said.

Reginald Jackson, W. Fred Higgins, George Bailey and Theresa Strickland all voted to approve the SPLOST agreement. Councilmember Jimmy Norred wasn’t at the meeting.

Members of the Troup County Commission said Tuesday that there was a misunderstanding between Hogansville and the commission about the administrative fee.

“We think there’s a misunderstanding with them, and we tried to reach out to them this morning, but we weren’t able to reach them before the meeting this morning,” said county commission chairman Patrick Crews on Tuesday. “Our intent today is to get in touch with them to try to straighten that issue out, the misunderstanding there. It’s always been a 1 percent fee.”

The SPLOST funding is divided up by population, so LaGrange and the county receive more of the funding than LaGrange or the county as a whole. The county uses 33 percent of the funding for countywide projects, including The Thread-Multi Use Trail in LaGrange and the Hogansville Recreation project.

Hogansville receives 5 percent of the remainder of the funding to be used for specific projects within Hogansville, including water, sewer and equipment; roads, sidewalks and equipment; parks and trails and city equipment.

According to the intergovernmental agreement discussed by the county and its three cities, Hogansville is estimated to receive $3.5 million in SPLOST funding over the six-year agreement.