Hogansville city manager: ‘We’re not a Mayberry town’ in SDS response letter
Published 2:10 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Dear Editor, on Thursday, January 28, 2021, the City of Hogansville provided notification to both Troup County and the City of LaGrange that we would like to invoke our right to mediation in the Service Delivery Strategy process. In short, this absolutely puts Troup County on notice that the City of Hogansville is not receiving adequate services from what our residents contribute from our property taxes. This is even more glaring with the reported $1 million increase that Troup County is providing the City of LaGrange to take over parks within their City from Troup County, which I state explicitly is their choice and not something forced upon them.
I feel that this request for mediation to Troup County is something that the residents of Hogansville deserve. We are being treated in an inequitable fashion by Troup County in regards to charges for essential services and even being double taxed for several of those including fire service. Unfortunately, Troup County charges the City residents $235,000 and is paid by City General Fund, which comes directly from city property tax revenues. Further, there is an additional $138,000 paid by residents through their property taxes paid to Troup County, which is double taxation. Unfortunately, Troup County wanted to increase the costs of fire services to over $285,000 and when the City said no, their “Final offering” was to leave it at the current rate which is still the definition of double taxation. Other services where residents see double taxation include parks and recreation and jail operations among others.
The City, for months during this negotiation, requested that the County move toward a special fire services district where taxpayers funds, which are already being collected through general county property taxes, are specifically allocated to Fire Services and would be seen as an individual line item. The County refused to move in this direction although it was mentioned in the approved 2011 Service Delivery Strategy that it would be implemented through such a special service district. Since the SDS is a legal, binding agreement Troup County has been in breach of this agreement since 2011 and continue to be at present.
It has also been stated firm and final again by the County during this process that it wants to keep the LOST (sales tax, not splost) at the current split: 45 (Troup) / 45 (LaGrange) / 5 (Hogansville)/ 5 (West Point). This is unacceptable to Hogansville as it is currently based off population numbers and not where the tax is collected. For example, if someone had $1 of sales tax collected from them at Love’s or Ingles then a collective 90% of that would go to Troup County and the City of LaGrange. The City pushed for changing how the split is calculated and using point of collection as the methodology instead of population but Troup County is not in favor of that because they have minimal sales tax collected in unincorporated Troup County. Again, residents of Hogansville are punished and will be receiving less service while those already collecting the majority share of revenues are increasing their coffers and services based off our great efforts.
Their apathetic nature toward the residents in the City of Hogansville will no longer be tolerated and our residents will no longer be able to sit idly by and be treated like we aren’t firm contributors to the success of Troup County. I say that we aren’t a Mayberry town, we have more than one radio, and we surely know what our worth is in this region and soon, Troup County will know that as well.
~ Jonathan Lynn, Hogansville City Manager