Muscogee County School Board to ask City of Columbus to lower tax revenue commission

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Making sure the school district has enough money to remain working until it receives its annual tax revenue is a pressing issue. 

Board member John Thomas offered this resolution during Monday night's meeting. The proposal asks Columbus City Council to reduce the 2.5 percent yearly commission it keeps for collecting school taxes for the district, which Thomas said comes out to roughly $2.5 million a year. 

"I think it'd be fair in this particular circumstance since the city has notified us they're going to delay receiving the revenues from taxes," said Thomas.
"Why not ask them to just reduce the fee by the amount that it costs us to borrow?"

The Muscogee County Board of Assessors advised Columbus City Council and the school district last week that there would be a delay in receiving tax revenue receipts. The delay is a consequence stemming from the Board of Assessors' conversion to new computer software. 

Thomas said he knows the board now faces the possibility of borrowing money in order to continue operating.

"You know, I would guess somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 to$500,000 at worst."

After the meeting, fellow board member Frank Myers said he wants local lawmakers to help lower the city's commission.

"Take Senator  McKoon's action and build off of that in the House next year and pass that," added Myers. "There won't be any debate about it. It'll be the law of Georgia that the city can only charge one percent instead of the present 2.5 percent they're charging the school board."

The school board approved Thomas' resolution, but Thomas said he understands city officials' hesitation to accept this proposal.

"I understand that the chances of anybody in the city approving reducing the amount of money they keep for themselves is slim," he said. "But I just want to call attention to the process so that people know that it happens."

The school board is expected to approach city government with this official petition soon, if not by Tuesday's Columbus City Council meeting.

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