Is Sandy Springs losing money because of zip code? - CBS46 News

Is Sandy Springs losing money because of zip code?

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

City leaders in Sandy Springs say they are losing money, and one possible reason may come down to the city's zip code.

How are those two things connected, and why should you care? 

If you bought something in Sandy Springs, and you're a Sandy Springs resident, you want the money to go to your transportation-related projects. That may not be happening because of the zip code.

Co-workers in Sandy Springs were happy they found a holiday gift. Since they work in Sandy Springs, did they check the sales tax? It's supposed to be 7.75 percent, not 8.9 percent, which is Atlanta's sales tax. That's even though Sandy Springs doesn't have its own separate zip code.

"That's a significant difference, in some way, depending on how much you're spending," says one of the shoppers.

At Sandy Springs Cigars, owner Myron Engebreston knows to charge 7.75 percent, but other business owners do not.

"It is confusing from a standpoint of mailing," says Engebreston. "And it could be confusing to people from a sales perspective."

John Ruch, the Reporters Newspapers' managing editor, says leaders were aware of the potential zip code issue back when Sandy Springs incorporated in 2005.

"Certainly, we at Reporter Newspapers have found some businesses charging the incorrect sales tax. There's some valid concern," says Ruch. "They got a lot of push back from businesses that still wanted to have Atlanta in their addresses."

Ruch says the transportation sales tax revenue -- or TSPLOST -- is coming in at least 30 percent lower than projected, leaving some asking if some of the money possibly went to Atlanta since some software programs read the zip code as Atlanta, and not Sandy Springs.

The co-workers say the tax would normally matter, but not this time because the gift -- an engraved lighter -- is for a very important person.

"For the boss, we'd spend anything!" says the shopper.

There's always the possibility the shortfall is because people are spending less. But so far, estimates are at least $2.4 million less than projected.

CBS46 asked the mayor of Sandy Springs to speak with us on-camera, allow another city official to do so, or to provide a statement. We were told his schedule was booked solid.

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