LOST: Commissioners respond to cities’
appeal to Superior Court
VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners filed a motion Wednesday asking the Superior Court of Lowndes County to dismiss the joint petition filed by the Cities of Valdosta, Dasher, Lake Park and Remerton for arbitration of the Local Option Sales Tax.
The five municipalities of Lowndes County filed the petition in September for the Superior Court to be the final word on the division of LOST revenues, after the cities and the county could not come to an agreement on the distribution of future funds.
The County claims that the provisions listed in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, specifically the subsections detailing that cities may petition a judge for arbitration, are unconstitutional.
The County alleges that the 2010 Amendment that gives cities the right to petition represents a violation of the Separation of Powers Clause of the Georgia Constitution, the civil action file states.
The clause states that “legislative, judicial, and executive powers shall forever remain separate and distinct; and no person discharging the duties of one shall at the same time exercise the functions of either of the others except as herein provided.”
Commissioners argue that the cities’ petition, and further, the OCGA amendment itself, places the legislative functions of the county in the hands of the Georgia judiciary, breaching this clause.
The County further argues that the amendment allows cities to reach beyond their territorial jurisdictions to require counties to levy a tax in contradiction of the Commissioners exclusive jurisdiction in County matters.
The motion to dismiss states “the Cities are not entitled” to Superior Court judgement on the matter of LOST percentages, and “prays the Court dismiss the Cities’ Petition.”