Peachtree City is charging its residents more than the state law allows for golf cart registration.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), Section 40-6-331(b) was amended in 2014 and specified a registration period. It states, “… a local authority may, by ordinance, require the local registration and licensing of PTVs operated within its boundaries at least once every five years for a fee not to exceed $15.00.”
Five years is the maximum time period between registrations. Shorter time periods are authorized such as once every four, three, or two years, or every year.
Regardless of the time period chosen, the maximum fee collected cannot exceed $15.
The city amended its ordinance in 2016 to reduce the registration period from every five years to every three years; and change the fee from $12 to $45. The city ordinance Section 78-92 (a)(3)a.1. states, “Registration year: $45.00 (for the subsequent three-calendar year period);”
The city ordinance is not in compliance with OCGA §40-6-331(b); and Council needs to amend the ordinance to comply with state law. Either chose an annual registration; or reduce the registration fee to $15.00 for the three-calendar year period.
The city has been collecting $30 more than is allowed by law; and residents can petition council for a refund.
The OCGA Section 48-5-380 outlines the procedure for a taxpayer to claim a refund for a license fee collected illegally or erroneously. A resident has two options.
A resident can submit to council a claim for a refund in writing stating the grounds for the claim. The claim must include a request for a conference or hearing if desired. The claim must be submitted within one year, so could be only for the 2023-2025 registration period. If the claim is denied, a suit can be filed.
A resident can forego requesting a refund and proceed directly to filing a suit, which must be filed within five years. The five-year limit would include not only the 2023-2025 registration period, but also the 2020-2022 registration period.
(The statements above are my understanding of the state law and city ordinance.)
Peachtree City, Ga.
I understand that we must follow the law. It seems there is some disagreement on how to interpret the law – shocking.
I would just like to say, as a cart owner, that the fee is more than reasonable and likely too low. If we eliminate the fee, or reduce it, then we will either have to raise taxes on all to support the use of some OR suffer poor maintenance (which we already do too much).
I am not requesting a refund.
I’ll go to city council meeting if you all want to attend as a group. Just pick the next meeting and I will be there.
I’m with Spyglass. To me, $15 per year is a bargain.
I can afford the $15 per year….
It’s not about the cost, it’s about whether or not the City is following State law.
Mayor Learnard has publicly asked “we have to follow State law?” during a Council meeting. Last time I checked, Peachtree City is in the State of Georgia and is obligated to follow state law. Make no mistake, the City has no power from its own source–all powers of the City flow directly from the State through the City Charter.
It gets even worse if you look at nonresidents, like those who live in Tyrone. The same State law clarifies that no other fee may be charged. The Council can’t have it both ways. Either the $235 “user fee” we charge nonresidents is a license fee (and therefore, in excess of the $15 limit) or it is a fee in addition to the license fee (and therefore prohibited). The ordinance is void as against public policy and beyond the City’s power.