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Covington won't ask for bigger LOST share

COVINGTON -- City officials have agreed they will not ask for more than the current distribution of Local Option Sales Tax revenues during this year's renegotiations.

LOST renegotiations are required within two years of each decennial census, putting the deadline at July 1 of this year. The distribution reached during renegotiations is binding for 10 years.

The proposed distribution breakdown is as follows: 75 percent to Newton County; 18.47 percent to Covington; 3.02 percent to Oxford; 2.05 percent to Porterdale; .83 percent to Newborn; and .63 percent to Mansfield.

In February, the City Council agreed to hire a consultant to guide them through arbitration if an agreement can't be reached with the county. Given the change to state law, the Georgia Municipal Association is recommending cities hire a consultant before entering arbitration.

Though the distribution is based on population, City Manager Steve Horton told the council the majority of revenues are generated in the city, resulting in more crime, trash and litter pickup, and more impact to public safety resources and roadways.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said the city's consultants believe the city could get a larger share, but, "With what's going on right now in the county as a whole, I think this is the best decision for all," he said, regarding the council's decision to agree to maintain the current distribution.