October 2022
ACCG Membership Approves 2023 Policy Agenda and Priorities

Remote voting for ACCG's 2023 Policy Agenda and Legislative Priorities concluded at noon on Friday, October 14. In total, 95 delegates voted on behalf of their respective counties, approving ACCG's 2023 Policy Agenda which includes the top three legislative priorities, policy objectives, and the Guiding Principles. The amendment to change ACCG's "Truck Weight" position failed (72% opposed and 28% supported), meaning that the Policy Council's original position to oppose a truck weight increase was adopted. ACCG's top three legislative priorities for the 2023 legislative session are:

  1. Mental Health Reform,
  2. Emergency Medical Services, and
  3. Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant Program (LMIG). 

ACCG appreciates all county officials who have participated in this year's policy development process and looks forward to working with all counties to advocate for the Policy Agenda during the 2023 legislative session. We also hope to see you all at ACCG's regional meetings to further discuss these important issues impacting Georgia's counties.  

Click here to see ACCG's 2023 Policy Agenda.  
Click here to see ACCG's 2023 Guiding Principles.  

ACCG Regional Meetings – Coming to a County Near You!

Fall Regional Meetings are quickly approaching! There's still time to register for the meeting of your choice. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about the approved Policy Agenda and other important county issues.

For more information, click here.

ACCG Homestead Exemptions Webinar

With rising inflation having a significant impact on real estate values, many counties are considering adjustments to their local homestead exemptions. To add or change local homestead exemptions, local legislation must be passed during the 2023 Session of the General Assembly then a local referendum must pass. Join ACCG for a webinar on Thursday, October 27 at 10:00 a.m. for an overview of the different types of homestead exemptions and how they work. It will also include a discussion of floating homestead exemptions, which are designed specifically to limit property tax increases from rising property reassessments. ACCG, along with experts from the Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Georgia Association of Tax Officials (GATO), will present on these topics and answer your questions about the wide variety of homestead exemption options.    

Meeting registration can be found here.
State News
Statewide Referendum Summaries

ACCG has provided summaries of statewide ballot questions that will be on this year's ballot. Click here to view the summaries.
House Study Committee on Local Government Housing Regulations Concludes its Work 
On Wednesday and Thursday, October 12-13, the House Study Committee on Regulation, Affordability and Access to Housing concluded its work examining how local government regulations and other issues impact housing affordability in Georgia. During these marathon sessions, many issues were discussed as contributing to Georgia’s affordable housing shortage, with real estate and development interests continuing to assert that local zoning, building code, permitting, design standard and rental regulations are the major impediments. 

Please pay close attention to this study committee’s upcoming recommendations as Georgia’s cities and counties will most certainly see sweeping preemptive legislation in these local areas next legislative session. ACCG and Georgia counties provided testimony to the committee, addressing their efforts on affordable housing and noting that their constituents demand local housing regulations for a variety of reasons. 
For the video of the Sept. 28 hearing, please click here
For the Sept. 29 video, click here.    
For the Oct. 12 video, click here, with ACCG’s testimony starting at the 5:37:43 mark. 
For the Oct. 13 video, click here.  
DCA Proposes New Rule to Govern the Annexation Arbitration Process

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has proposed a draft rule to govern the annexation arbitration process. This rule was required under HB 1461, the major legislation revising the arbitration process during the 2022 legislative session. Adhering to Georgia’s Administrative Procedures Act, comments for the rule were due Friday, Oct. 7, either in writing or through testimony on that date. ACCG provided both written and verbal comments. Following consideration of the comments received, the DCA Board plans to adopt a final rule during its meeting on Nov. 9 in Savannah. 

To review the draft proposed rule, click here.

To view ACCG’s comments to the proposed rule, please click here.
House Study Committee Evaluates Compensation Rates amongst State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies
On Thursday, September 22, and Thursday, October 6, the House Study Committee on State and Local Law Enforcement Salaries held its first two meetings. During the first meeting, the committee heard primarily from state law enforcement agencies on the challenges that they were having with retention and recruitment. The second committee meeting focused more on the challenges that local law enforcement agencies were facing. ACCG presented on the proactive work that counties are doing to increase compensation and benefits for local law enforcement officers. Georgia counties were also represented by testimonies from Upson County Manager Jason Tinsley and Fayette County Vice-Chairman Commissioner Edward Gibbons. The committee heard several policy recommendations that focused on the state creating a system to help provide stronger retirement and healthcare benefits to law enforcement officers. This study committee will meet again on December 1st, at 10:00 A.M. at the State Capitol.
For the video of the September 22nd hearing, please click here.
For the video of the October 6th hearing, please click part one and part two
Proposed Rules and Regulation Unveiled for the L.E.S.S Crimes Act

The L.E.S.S. Crimes Act (Senate Bill 361), which passed during the 2022 Georgia legislative session, allows taxpayers to receive a tax credit for a donation made to a qualified law enforcement foundation. The tax credit has a $5,000 maximum limit for individual taxpayers, and a $10,000 limit for those filing married jointly. Law enforcement foundations can use these funds to cover salary supplements, equipment cost, and funding for co-responder programs for their designated agency.
In order to be eligible as a qualified law enforcement foundation, the foundation must be designated to only one law enforcement agency. Next, the law enforcement foundation must electronically submit a certification form with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). Click here to access the application information. All law enforcement foundations must complete their applications for certification by December 11, 2022 to participate in the tax credit program for the 2023 tax year.
To see the full scope of eligibility criteria and certification requirements, please see the proposed rules and regulations document from the DOR. These rules and regulations are still under a comment period, meaning that the DOR is accepting feedback on the rules and regulations before they are finalized. If you wish to submit a comment, it must be sent electronically to [email protected] by no later than 10:00 AM on November 14th. Please reference “Notice Number IT-2022-5” on all comments.

Apply for Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation's BRACE Community Improvement Grant 

The purpose of the BRACE Grant Program is to reduce litter, blight, and illegal dumping on public property and encourage code enforcement efforts. Funded through the Solid Waste Trust Fund (SWTF), the grant program is designed to prioritize assistance for communities to address these challenges. Grants of $2,500 or $5,000 will be made in January 2023, and priority will be given to communities of 2,500 or less. Learn more and apply by December 2, 2022.
Federal News
NACo Alert: FCC Publishes Specifications for Bulk Fixed Availability Challenge and Crowdsourced Data

On September 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the process for state, local and tribal governments to file bulk challenges to the data in the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (the “Fabric”), which serves as the foundation for the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) fixed availability maps. Counties will be able to challenge broadband availability data within the FCC’s national maps, if necessary, following their release this November. Click here to read the FCC’s official announcement.

Grant Opportunity: Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation released the FY22 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program. This new discretionary grant program will offer up to $100 million in grants annually over the next five years to fund transportation projects that use data and technology to solve real-world challenges facing communities today.

Click here to learn more about the SMART grant program.

FEMA Opens Applications for Over $3 Billion in Mitigation Grant Funding

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity for over $3 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants. State and local governments are eligible to apply for funding through FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs. The application period will close at 3:00 p.m. ET on January 27, 2023. 

Click here for more information.
News You Can Use - Articles Related to ACCG Policy Issues

Articles covering some of ACCG's major policy issues are found here. Click the hyperlinked title to begin reading:

AJC - October 17, 2022

Georgia Public Policy Foundation - October 14, 2022 
Questions? Email the
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ACCG is YOUR county association. We are here to advance all 159 Georgia county governments. Please feel free to contact a member of the policy team if they can assist in any way.