Sandy Springs City Councilmember John Paulson discusses LOST at a town hall meeting the cities held at Roswell City Hall. (Photo by Bob Pepalis)

After four months of negotiations, Fulton County and its 15 cities have reached an agreement on the distribution of Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenues over the next 10 years.

The Board of Commissioners approved the agreement at its Nov. 2 meeting, a county spokesperson said in a press release.

The county share of LOST will increase from the current 4.98% to 12.5% over the next decade. The sales tax generates 1 cent per dollar on retail sales within the county boundaries and in every city.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said the county’s share averages at 9.985% over the 10-year period.

“I’m just glad it’s over. I think we probably negotiated the best deal that we could get,” Paul said.

Fulton County will receive an estimated $383 million over the next 10 years, up from the $191 million it would have gotten if its share remained at 4.98%.

“We are glad that the cities have recognized the importance of Fulton County’s services for our citizens, and the extraordinary needs we are facing,” Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said. “This agreement does not meet every need but is a positive step forward.”

Paul said an attorney representing the cities told them the best to hope for was a 15 percent share for the county, but they were able to get it under 10 percent. He called it a pretty good outcome under the circumstances.

The cities are projected to get $3.46 billion in LOST revenue during that time.

The cities now have to work on how their 90% average share gets distributed among the 15 cities, which he thinks will be completed by the first of the week.

The county and cities are required by legislation to renegotiate the distribution every 10 years. Negotiations began on July 1. Once negotiations failed to produce an agreement, the two sides moved to mediation. After the Oct. 7 mediation session was not successful, the cities initially did not meet with the county and held a press conference calling the county’s position “irresponsible and reckless.” Pitts sent a letter to the mayors asking them to return to discussions.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.