has submitted another proposal to the
City of Tifton
for specified joint services, but the city said the plan doesn’t "prevent a substantial
increase in taxes
for city residents."
For a couple of years, the city and county have been attempting to reach agreement on a
“Service Delivery Strategy.”
Every 10 years, the state requires local governments to adopt a joint plan to detail what services – such as fire, water, animal control, etc., – are provided and who provides them.
At a special called meeting last
Tift County Commission
voted to send the city a proposal that county commissioners said "does not separate departments, does not degrade services, and does not increase taxes. However, it does serve to settle lawsuits, end service delivery disputes, and provide a
bridging the gap
that has existed between our governments for far too long."
In a written statement released
City of Tifton
said: "The county’s 'new proposal' does not alter the City Council’s decision not to contract with the county. The City Council’s decision not to contract with the county is to
increase in taxes
for city residents while at the same time providing a superior level of service to city residents.”
City officials have said the county's proposals would necessitate City Council having to
raise city taxes
by up to
. Rather than do that, the city said it decided to handle its own recreation, tax collections, animal control, city elections, non-emergency 911 dispatching and the housing of city inmates – now overseen by the county.
"Some on the City Council have said that certain county proposals would have required the city to raise its millage rate. That statement is true, but
not the whole truth
," county commissioners said in a
this week in the
"What they failed to mention is the fact that there would have been a
county millage rate
to those same citizens, thereby offsetting the increase and rendering it essentially moot," the county commissioners wrote.
But at the
, City Attorney
said there is a question about whether city taxpayers will actually see their county taxes go down. Wilmot said that in
, the county agreed that it would stop charging city residents for county code enforcement since the city handles that itself. Wilmot said the countywide tax rate never was reduced.
“Can I guarantee that the county is going to
?” Wilmot asked. “...They
didn’t do it
in this instance."
In their open letter to the community this week, county commissioners said the City of Tifton "has rejected each and every offer put forth by the county without even once submitting a counter-proposal for our consideration. Anyone who has been involved in trying to broker a deal of any kind knows that a
is really not a negotiation at all. ....
“At a time when our nation is facing an unprecedented public health pandemic, global economic uncertainty, and social unrest the likes of which we haven't seen in decades, the issues keeping us apart on a local level seem insignificant at best, and inexcusable at worst. The time for action is now. It's time to come together. We’ve
ask the city to grasp it
In its statement
, the city said: “On May 15, the county submitted to the city what was captioned as the county’s
After consideration of the county’s “Final Proposal,” the city determined it would be in the best interest of city taxpayers not to continue contracting with the county for certain services.
“...Based upon the county’s “Final Proposal,” the city adopted and sent to the county the required forms for these services to be submitted to the (state)
Department of Community Affairs
The city said Tuesday that it is still awaiting the county's approval of the forms that detail the city taking over specified services.
"Once the city has received from the county a response to the submitted forms, we will continue the process of having a
Service Delivery Strategy
developed and submitted to the Department of Community Affairs,” the city said.