In a rare joint meeting of the Rome, Floyd County and Cave Spring governments, all three entities voted to approve the new local option sales tax distribution agreement for the next decade.
The LOST agreement is a tax revenue sharing agreement that must be renewed every 10 years. Under the new agreement, Rome’s percentage increases from 41.7% to 45.2% and Floyd County’s goes from 56.5% to 53%. Cave Spring’s share stays the same at 1.8% of the proceeds.
“I appreciate that all local governments would take the time to hash this out,” said Rome City Commissioner Jamie Doss.
Additionally, the city and county agreed to swap real estate.
The city will get the Forum River Center and the county will get what is now the Rome-Floyd County Law Enforcement Center. As part of that deal, the Rome Police Department will move to an, at this point, undecided location.
“There’s so much potential downtown and in the River District and a lot of work to be done,” said City Commissioner Mark Cochran.
The city will also assume ownership of the Third Avenue parking deck, the Town Green, Rotary Plaza and the Chief John Ross Memorial Bridge. The county will receive the Sixth Avenue parking deck and the Marine Armory building, which serves as headquarters for Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Department.
One part of the initial deal, the transfer of the Fifth Avenue bridge to the city, was scrapped. Because the construction of the bridge was federally funded, the county was concerned a transfer could complicate future federal funding requests for other projects.
The quick vote Tuesday was in contrast to the sometimes heated negotiations between the Rome and Floyd County officials over the past year. Much of the contention stemmed from several shared services agreements and which entity bore the bulk of the costs.
Rome officials indicated early on in the negotiations that they would request a larger percentage of the revenue. Much of their argument was based on claims the city was getting the short end of the stick on several joint service agreements.
Those joint service agreements cover everything from parks and recreation to sanitation to paving to animal control services.
For a time, the two entities were deadlocked. However, both boards left satisfied with the deal — which gave the county a much needed location for administration and the city an event venue in the heart of downtown Rome.