WINDER — The Barrow County Commission at its semi-monthly meeting Tuesday voted to allow Chairman Danny Yearwood to execute an intergovernmental agreement with the county’s six municipalities to determine use of a projected $60 million in a continued special purpose local option sales tax beginning 20 months from now.
The agreement between Barrow and Auburn, Bethlehem, Braselton, Carl, Statham and Winder addresses use of the penny tax, as well as cost of the special election next March to ratify its continuation from mid-2012 to 2018.
Under the agreement, Winder, the county’s disproportionately largest municipality, will get the greatest percentage of the municipalities’ combined 40 percent take in the tax to fund capital projects. Winder is scheduled to get about 53 percent, with Auburn receiving roughly 27 percent and Statham 11. Bethlehem, Braselton and Carl are slated to get approximately 4, 4 and 1 percent, respectively.
Barrow will foot roughly $14,000 of the anticipated $23,000 cost of the special election, with Winder and Auburn expected to kick in about $4,600 and $2,000, respectively, and the other municipalities less than $1,000 each.
Barrow Chief Financial officer Rose Kisaalita said months of negotiating with the municipalities was challenging, and creation of the pending agreement was a welcome hurdle to have cleared.
“I’m not a politician and working with the municipalities is a challenge,” Kisaalita said. “Understandably, they all have their own agendas and their own interests, and it’s really challenging.”
Separately, the Commission also voted Tuesday to approve a roughly $350,000 amendment to its $32 million fiscal 2011 budget, the result of several anticipated layoffs shortly after the budget was passed last month.
The net result is that the tax commissioner department’s budget would decrease about 7 percent to $527,000; the tax assessor department’s budget would drop approximately 16 percent to $527,000; the building and grounds’ budget would decrease roughly 9 percent to about $1.2 million; and the highway and streets budget would drop about 3 percent to $1.2 million.
Additionally, the county’s projected reserve would increase approximately $18,000.