May 17-- Residents of Montgomery County who live in the the Vidalia city limits have been getting a tax break from the city which appears to be contrary to a state Supreme Court decision.
During initial talks between Vidalia and Toombs County about how to share Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) proceeds, county officials noted that Vidalia residents who live in Montgomery County are not entitled to have their property taxes rolled back based on sales tax collections in Toombs County because they are not Toombs County residents.
A 2002 Georgia Supreme Court decison on a similar case in Banks County found the practice to be in violation of state law.
One report which examined Vidalia tax breaks to city residents in Montgomery County since 2006 says it's been averaging about $98,000 a year and could have saved Vidalia residents in Toombs County about a third of a mil on their tax bills.
Vidalia city manager Bill Torrance claims the practice hasn't cost Vidalia taxpayers anything and says the city is looking at the legality of the practice.
"My opinion is that no citizen of Toombs County-Vidalia has paid for any tax relief for Montgomery County, they got their full tax relief, too. I'm going to have the legal guys look at that and determine what we have to do. We're certainly not going to continue to do something that's not legal," he said.
Torrance says Vidalia City Attorney Reid Threlkeld is examining the court ruling and will make a recommendation to the city when his review is completed.