Commission to settle tax deficit with school board

Published 11:25 am Thursday, April 11, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

A sales tax distribution settlement between the Lowndes County Commission and Lowndes County Board of Education is a win-win situation according to officials on both sides.

The Lowndes County Commission voted unanimously Monday to let the Lowndes County Board of Education have the old health services building in lieu of paying back taxes to the board, pending the figures check out, according to Commissioner W. Dickson Farrior.

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Farrior said some of the money collected that was supposed to go to the board came to the commission instead.

Commission Administrator Jackie Thomas said the error was the result of a “miscalculation” regarding a 1-cent sales tax.

“I don’t believe that was intentionally done by any particular party,” Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd said. “I think it was an honest mistake.”

Commission Chairman Robert Harris abstained from voting on the agreement for which Commissioners Crenshaw, McAlpine, Farrior and Joseph Barganier all voted yes.

Farrior said the building to be given to the board was vacant. He said by allowing the board to have it, the liability and expense of maintaining the old health services building will come off the county.

“We don’t have to pay the insurance, we don’t have to pay the light bill and there’s no maintenance on it, “ Farrior said. “So the county is going to be better off.”

Boyd said it was good the board and the commission could get together and resolve things in a “diplomatic fashion” as “a team.”

Boyd said that speaks volumes, “and it goes to show you that the best way to solve problems is to come together, define the problem and come up with the best solution for both entities.”

He said in this case, “I truly believe that it was mutually beneficial.”

Boyd said the old health services building will be eventually used by the school system in one way or another. “So it’s really a win-win situation and everybody comes out ahead.”

Pending confirmation of the figures, Boyd and Thomas said they could not state the actual amount of back taxes owned.