Friday, August 03, 2007

Future of Milton's $850k Up in the Air

State not sure where money should go

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers /

July 31, 2007

It looks as though the $850,000 in insurance premium tax money floating in bureaucratic limbo isn't as easily wrapped up as Milton City Hall had once hoped.

The money, "lost" to a filing mistake on Milton's part, should just go to the county, said City Manager Aaron Bovos. From there, it would be routed into the former Northwest Fulton Special Services District fund because it is money paid by the people in that area.

However, according to Glen Allen, a spokesman from Georgia Insurance Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine's office, the fate of the cash is up to interpretation.

"This is the first time that a situation like this has occurred," he said. "Hypothetically the money would either go to the county or throughout all the counties in Georgia."

He said ultimately the fate of the money will rest with a decision from the office's premium tax and law division. That decision could take at least a few weeks.

In the mean time, Milton has set up a meeting with the office Aug. 9 to discuss the matter.The problem with Bovos' plan, said Allen, is the issue of population. Local governments in Georgia collect the tax on insurance policies written by licensed companies. The tax is then remitted to each local jurisdiction based upon the per capita population, similar to a local option sales tax.

Previously, the county collected these funds for the unincorporated area.Fulton County has already submitted its ordinance and paperwork for the money this year with a population count that did not include the roughly 20,000 new Milton citizens, Allen said. Thus, the situation arises that Fulton County would be getting money for 20,000 people it didn't count.

"How can you add population [after it has been submitted]?" said Allen.Sharon Whitmore, assistant Fulton County finance director, agreed with his assessment. She said Fulton County only gets insurance premium tax money based on the population of its unincorporated area.Thus, any money would only be doled out based on the county's 2007 numbers, which did not include Milton."I don't think [the state insurance office] will say we still consider them unincorporated," she said. "I don't think we'll get any money from the state earmarked as Milton's share."Bovos said

Allen's comments about the money were a surprise to City Hall."We did not know about the office's speculation," he said.Bovos also said the city assumed the money would simply go to the county because there's never been another option."That's how things worked before incorporation," he said.Regardless, the city manager still maintains that the city's trump card is the possibility of legislation written by either Milton founder Rep. Jan Jones, R-Milton, or Rep. Mark Burkhalter, R-Johns Creek.If not, the city could be out $850,000.


Anonymous said...

this author's article was by far better than the one from that jerk at the AJC, Doug Nurse...he's anything but positive and skirts the facts constantly...then he orders pizza...

C.Collins said...

Glen Allen implies that Fulton County has already made their 2007 filing, and if Fulton has not included the Milton population in their population, then the funds might be distributed throughout the state rather than going to Fulton.

Yet GA Code section 33-8-8.2, pertaining to this issue, indicates that governments need file their ordinances only in the first year of their levy. If Fulton already had an ordinance licensing insurance companies, why would Fulton need to make a filing in 2007 as indicated by Mr. Allen?

Further, the code states that population estimates are based on the most current official U.S. Census population estimates and makes no mention of the municipalities reporting their population numbers to the Insurance Commissioner.

Lastly, the Census Bureau estimates for counties and incorporated areas lag by one year. The most current estimates that will be available before Sept 1, 2007 and per the GA Code, the Commissioner uses to allocate and make payments on Oct 15, 2007, are as of July 1, 2006 and do not contain a separate population estimate for Milton.

Unless there is a report from the Census Bureau to the Insurance Commissioner that isn’t made public, and I’m not aware of, the 2007 payment would have to be made to Fulton County, with the October 15, 2008 payment being made to Milton.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, What's next, ban Doug Nurse from Milton City Hall, do not allow AJC newspapers inside City, prohibit all Milton residents access to, enact ordinance that pizza can not be delivered to certain areas (especially City Hall) within city boundaries. My bet is he likes pizza.

Anonymous said...

Old Timer, you're just as big of an idiot as Nurse...just looking for the negative things to say...Nurse just miscontrues things a little more than necessary...and in by doing so, makes himself look like a horse's ass

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I have no intentions in getting in a pissing contest with you.

You tell it the way you see it and I'll tell it the way I see it.

You don't have to agree with me.

Anonymous said...

well, then get some better glasses you just gets tiresome constantly read negative would think that there is nothing positive to say about the city if all you read are articles by Nurse....

he places a little too much focus on the worst case scenario instead of the other'd think that the money was already lost period when there is still a chance to recoup the funds, however slim they may be...

Anonymous said...

To Annoymous and Old Timer, each of you might consider and read: 1.Anger management 2. Shooting the messenger.

If this doesn't help, no longer read articles by Nurse... reason, what you don't know can't hurt you. 2.If all else fails, check out rose colored glasses.

If the shoe fits, wear it.