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City approves audit of mixed drink vendors
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The Covington City Council approved an agreement with the Georgia Municipal Association for Alcohol Excise Tax Revenue Recovery services at their Monday night meeting.

The GMA is to conduct an audit of the city's 16 mixed-drink licensees. The audit will compare the returns from wholesale buyers and the returns from mixed-drink licensees to determine if there are any back taxes owed to the city.

The city was given an estimate of $10,500 by GMA for the tax recovery services. While it is possible that the city might learn from the audit that it is owed no back taxes, J. Bryan Whitford, a consultant who works with GMA, said the majority of cities who have employed GMA's services for alcohol tax recovery have found that they were owed money.

 While Whitford could not give an estimate of how much money the city could expect to re-coup from the tax recovery, he did say that the City of Americus (a city of similar size to Covington) had re-couped $16,000 from an audit in 2001.

Whitford said the formula used by the GMA to figure out if a business owed the city additional taxes for the sale of mixed-drinks was accurate and erred on the side of caution towards the mixed-drink licensees.

 "We can come up with a very good estimate of what the sale should have been and compare that to the return to the city," said Whitford of the formula used.

Whitford estimated that it could take anywhere from 90 days to a year and a half to complete the audit. The audit will examine the returns from mixed-drink licensees for the past three years.

In other city council news:

There will be a called meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13 at the Covington City Hall to discuss and approve a franchise agreement between the City of Covington and Charter Communications for the sale of Covington Cable.