The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Wednesday, August 16, 2000
Tax rift widens between county, Tyrone


Sparks continue to fly as Fayette County and local city officials try to decide whose citizens are getting the gold mine and whose are getting the shaft, tax-wise.

Officials from the county and Peachtree City seem to have abandoned the report of consultants Governmental Solutions Ltd. in favor of figures put together by Mayor Bob Lenox, according to Tyrone Town Councilman Ronnie Cannon, and that has Cannon fuming.

“As soon as he made his recommendations, the county started squawking,” Cannon said this week, referring to the GSL report.

The report, jointly paid for by the county and all five cities, suggested that residents of Peachtree City pay $1.4 million more in taxes than they receive in services from Fayette County, and similar deficits occur in Fayetteville ($313,397) and Tyrone ($118,863).

County officials took exception to the figures, saying the consultants considered only a few portions of the county budget and that a more complete analysis was needed.

Peachtree City Mayor Lenox offered to provide a more complete analysis, using figures from the GSL report as well as updated numbers from an earlier analysis he had written, and Lenox completed that work last week, sending copies to all the governments concerned.

Lenox's new numbers suggest that Peachtree City's residents are shortchanged $3.2 million in county services, and Fayetteville is short $793,293, but Tyrone is owed a mere $1,177.

County Commission Chairman Harold Bost said the county's finance office is working on a response. “We agree with some things, disagree with some things, and now we'll get together and talk and try to come up with a solution that will satisfy everybody,” he said.

“I'm tired of it,” Tyrone's Cannon said in response. County and city officials agreed to use the GSL report to solve the dispute, plus additional data concerning recreation and libraries, he said. In presenting the report in June, GSL President Stephen Burnett said he did not include those services in the study because insufficient data were available.

“We're getting our data together [on recreation and libraries],” said Cannon, “and let's hope they're getting their data together.”

But Lenox's new analysis just muddies the water, he said. “We're right back to where we were two years ago,” he said.

Lenox defended the new numbers, saying he included GSL's study and expanded upon it. “I worked through this thing one step at a time, and I didn't know what answer I was going to come up with until I came to the bottom line,” said Lenox.

Tyrone's deficit came out so low because “Tyrone doesn't have much of a tax base and they do get probably more services from the county,” he said.

“It's not fair to take this thing piecemeal,” Lenox added, referring to the GSL report. “I'm not going to cook the numbers to make Ronnie happy, because that's not fair.”

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