The Georgia Supreme Court has given a jolt to dozens of communities. The justices ruled unconstitutional a process they've been using to divide up local sales taxes. Local officials are turning to the state for guidance.
The small southwest Georgia city of Leesburg is serving as guinea pig for a new efficiency evaluation program that could eventually help cities across Georgia figure out how well they do everything from customer service to public works.
Cities and counties are renegotiating the terms of a tax that almost every Georgian pays. All but a handful of Georgia counties have a penny sales tax called LOST. It goes into city and county budgets to offset property taxes. But every ten years, cities and counties have to renegotiate how the taxes are split up based on new Census data.
When the Census numbers come out in April, Georgia cities won't just have federal and state tax dollars at stake. Some cities are concerned they might lose local dollars as well. That's because cities will have to renegotiate with counties for local option sales tax funds. And since those funds are generally split based on population, declining cities could lose yet another funding source.