Service Delivery Strategy - SDS Memo

For those of you who wish to understand how SDS (Georgia’s Service Delivery Strategy) and double taxation, and how SDS  helps to rectify the ongoing double taxation in Rabun County, By not having an SDS agreement, Rabun County and the cities within Rabun County have lost their qualified governmental status. 

Memo from Councilor Chip Durpo to the Sky Valley Mayor & City Council

Below the memo, I have provided documentation and videos to support my below opinion. I’d also like to thank Councilor Paul Wheeler for all his help and support with SDS and SPLOST. 

To: Sky Valley Mayor and City Council Members,

I’ll preface the below with the following statement: The City of Sky Valley’s goal is to achieve an equitable SDS (Service Delivery Strategy) agreement with Rabun County. However, SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) seems to be considered an SDS negotiating tool by Rabun County.

Attached (Exhibit “A”) is a spreadsheet I created to determine the effects on Sky Valley by not supporting Clayton in the last SPLOST allocation. Before sharing the results with you, I ran this spreadsheet by Wesley Corbitt with SDS Consulting to confirm my numbers and calculations were accurate. His response is in the below email chain. According to the results shown on the spreadsheet, Sky Valley, Tallulah Falls, Dillard, and Tiger each benefited only slightly, while Mountain City lost $569K, and Clayton lost $2M by receiving nothing from the last SPLOST. On the other hand, Rabun County retained an extra $2.4 million in SPLOST funds that should have been divided by all cities including The City of Clayton.

For playing its role in the last SPLOST allocation, The City of Sky Valley received an extra $82,600. However, without an SDS agreement in place Sky Valley loses $30,000 per year in state grants, plus the loss of grants Sky Valley could not apply for by not having its governmental status. Including grants that could have funded a city park! (Sky Valley, as of this year has a net loss from the SPLOST payoff) Had the cities been united in the last SPLOST allotment they could have required SPLOST funds be divided by population rather than governmental agreement. By the cities in Rabun County, working to exclude Clayton, they received little benefit in return for providing Rabun County with an estimated $2.4 million in extra SPLOST funds from the last allocation. This infusion of SPLOST funds substantially mitigated Rabun County’s loses by not having an SDS agreement in place and its qualified governmental status. Furthermore, the additional $2.4M greatly diminished the incentive, and short term need for Rabun County to seek an SDS agreement with all cities within Rabun County as required by law.

So, what do SPLOST and SDS have to do with each other? NOTHING. However, SPLOST has been, and is once again being used by Rabun County as a negotiating tool that does not exist when Sky Valley and Clayton remain united. Which benefits ALL cities in Rabun County. 

Had Sky Valley joined with Clayton in the last SPLOST allocation, Clayton would not have lost their SPLOST funding, Rabun County would have been incentivized to obtain an SDS agreement based on the mere fact they would not have had an extra $2.4 million to mitigate its losses by not having an SDS agreement.

It was stated just prior to entering the March 21, 2018 SDS meeting, Rabun County would provide Sky Valley with extra SPLOST money if Sky Valley would not hire the SDS attorney nor join with Clayton. I want Sky Valley to maintain a great relationship with Rabun County and all Cities within. With that said, we are the legislative body of Sky Valley; we owe it to our taxpayers to represent their best interest with integrity and honesty. While there may be others who feel the “Go Along and we’ll Get Along” or “Good ole Boy” method best serves Sky Valley, I do not!!

There are laws that guide both SDS and SPLOST. Thanks to a chain of events, which I’ll discuss in a later memo, we now have the education and available advice through Clayton’s SDS consultants, and thanks to Mayor MacNair our own inequities numbers are on the way. I believe the City of Sky Valley is well positioned to obtain an equitable SDS agreement. Furthermore, The Cities of Clayton and Sky Valley together can ensure all cities in Rabun County receive their fair share of SPLOST without the threat of exclusion.

I welcome your thoughts,
Chip Durpo
Councilor, City of Sky Valley

Reference Material Links:
1. Exhibit “A” Spreadsheet
2. History of Local Government Service Delivery in Georgia.pdf
3. The Issue of Double Taxation in Georgia.pdf
4. Service Delivery Strategy Webinar Link5. SPLOST booklet attached for you to reference. Page 14, Paragraph 2 speaks of the survivability or term of SPLOST.

Download the PowerPoint Presentation | Click Here 

Service Delivery Strategy: Overview

Becky Taylor of the GMA staff provided an overview of the Service Delivery Act, basic requirements of the law including guidelines and criteria for preparing, filing, and updating service delivery agreements.

Service Delivery Strategy: Wesley Corbitt Presentation

Wesley Corbitt described the City of Rincon’s approach to evaluating tax equity issues in Effingham County. Mr. Corbitt was able to use his expertise as a CPA and auditor to undertake a detailed review of the county’s financial statements to reveal areas where inequities existed. He offered suggestions for how other cities can enter the negotiations process armed with financial information about how services are funded and with documentation to show tax inequities

UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government presents the below video: Understanding Georgia Service Delivery Strategy (SDS)

Service Delivery Strategy: Michael Brown Presentation

Michael Brown outlined the history of city and county service provision in Georgia and provided a timeline to explain why tax equity issues exist today. He also offered suggested techniques to negotiate with counties on tax equity issues.