HOLMES COUNTY - Once again, the Local Option Gas Tax (LOGT) discussion between the county and its municipalities took place during a special session of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners on June 26.
The LOGT is a five-cent gas tax on every gallon of motor fuel and special fuel sold in Holmes County with tax proceeds used exclusively for transportation expenditures within the county.
In October of last year, the county proposed to give an extra percent to Ponce de Leon, while the remaining municipalities would stay at the current rate they receive. Bonifay at 10 percent, while Noma, Westville and Esto all receive one percent. The county would give up the one percent and go to 85 percent.
The county, Bonifay, Noma, Esto and Ponce de Leon have all approved and signed the agreement, leaving Westville as unsigned.
A representative for Westville was unable to attend the meeting but advised Attorney Brandon Young, that the council needed more time before making a decision to sign the agreement.
The breakdown and disbursement of the LOGT funds has been an ongoing discussion since 2014.
The initial interlocal agreement was made 30 years ago with the county receiving 86 percent, Bonifay 10 percent and Esto, Noma, Ponce de Leon and Westville each receiving one percent.
In 2014, the agreement was renewed amid demands from Ponce de Leon for a bigger slice of the pie.
In October 2016, all the municipalities, the county and an accountant from Carr, Riggs and Ingram Accounting firm gathered to discuss the matter. It was decided that all municipalities would gather their paperwork concerning transportation expenditures over the past five years to turn into the firm. Once submitted, the firm would determine the statutory disbursement of the funds to each party. Only Ponce de Leon, Bonifay and the county submitted paperwork.
Should Westville decide to oppose the agreement, the municipalities will once again be required to submit paperwork for determination of the statutory disbursement to submit to the state before October 1. Should that not happen the funds would be frozen until an agreement or disbursement be determined.
The interlocal agreement will last for five years, and the re-evaluated for the statutory formula to be used for 10 years thereafter.
Young is expected to attend Westville’s next regular session council meeting to express the importance and urgency in coming to an agreement.