October 2021
Reminder: Join Us for A Webinar on the 2022 Proposed Policy Agenda
Join the ACCG policy team for a webinar on Wednesday, October 27 at 10:00 a.m. The team will brief Georgia's county officials on the 2022 Proposed ACCG Policy Agenda and recommended legislative priorities for the upcoming session of the General Assembly. Counties will vote to approve the Proposed Agenda on Saturday, November 13 during the business session at the County Reconnect Conference in Savannah/Chatham County.

Click here to register for the webinar.

It's Time to Update Your County’s ACCG County Legislative Coordinator (CLC)

Annually, ACCG asks counties to update their county’s designated CLC to ensure the most accurate data is reflected in our records. The CLC’s primary responsibilities are to relay pertinent information about current legislation to county commissioners and county management and to maintain an open line of communication with ACCG to ensure county-specific information is readily available for legislators. ACCG encourages all counties to participate and designate a CLC prior to the legislative session. Click here to see your county’s current CLC. To change or appoint your county’s CLC for 2022, please contact Tottianna Davis at [email protected] or (404) 522-5022.

House Study Committee on Annexation Holds Fourth Meeting

On Monday, October 4, the House Study Committee on Annexation held its fourth meeting, examining issues surrounding the creation of new cities. ACCG Deputy Legislative Director Todd Edwards suggested statutory improvements governing the creation of new cities and argued that the creation of limited service cities is unconstitutional. Legislative Director Clint Mueller testified on service delivery challenges and recommendations when new cities are formed. Click here for a video of the committee hearing. Todd’s comments on cityhood begin at the 28.47 mark, and he discusses the flawed concept of “city lites” at 1.24.45. Clint’s service delivery testimony begins at 1.49.05. 

The House Study Committee is expected to hold its final meeting during the General Assembly’s special session in November and is then expected to makes its recommendations for any annexation legislation for the 2022 regular session. To again view ACCG’s recommendations to improve the state’s annexation dispute resolution/arbitration process, please click here.        

House Subcommittee Discusses Changes to Call Before You Dig Law

On Thursday, October 14, the House Subcommittee on Utility Facility and Safety Improvements held its first meeting. The focus was on HB 449 from last session, debating whether local governments who own or maintain traffic control devices or traffic management systems should be required to join the state Utilities Protection Center (UPC), pay dues, face penalties, and be responsible for locating these newly-defined utilities within 48 hours of UPC notice. ACCG opposes this section of the bill, having sent out this Action Alert which explains the reasoning behind this position and the impact this will have on counties. 

Click here to view the virtual hearing. ACCG, GMA, the Georgia Public Works Association, the cities of Gainesville and Valdosta, and Cobb County jointly testified with objections to this proposal, with comments starting at the 1.16.09 mark. Click here to view the House members on this subcommittee. ACCG urges counties served by these representatives to contact them if they share ACCG’s concerns. This legislation will be addressed early next session.    
State News
2021 WaterFirst Webinar Series

Next month, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) is hosting a webinar series for Georgia communities interested in pursuing the WaterFirst designation. Each webinar will focus on different topics. Click here for more details.

New Volunteer Firefighter Training Requirements and Deadlines

On October 12 the Georgia Firefighter Standards & Training Council (GFSTC) met with a group of Fire Chiefs from Volunteer Fire Departments across the state to discuss several rule changes proposed by GFSTC staff. The primary proposed rule change was that prospective volunteers would have a six-month deadline to obtain certification as a “Volunteer Support Firefighter”. Failure to obtain the certification in the six-month time period would result in a mandate that the prospective volunteer be removed from the fire department’s roster for a minimum of one year. This was voted down. 

As an alternative, the GFSTC voted to approve a recognized, non-certified registered position in the volunteer fire service that falls solely under the local government/local fire department. The position would be called a “Volunteer Auxiliary Personnel,” and it affords prospective volunteers the ability to join volunteer departments without a deadline to receive GFSTC mandated training. The local government/local fire department can establish any requirements they choose; however, the prospective volunteer will still need to be registered with GFSTC, covered under Worker’s Compensation Insurance including Cancer coverage, and will only have to attend the same 24 hours of annual training that other members of volunteer department must receive and report.

The rule change will be effective January 1, 2022.
Federal News
U.S. Department Of Transportation Grant Opportunities

Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program
On September 20, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) announcing the availability of $409.59 million in FY 2021 funds for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program. The NOFO is available here and proposals are due by November 19.

Route Planning Restoration Program
On September 14, the FTA published a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) announcing the availability of $25 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the Route Planning Restoration Program. The NOFO is available here and applications are due by November 15.

Additional Assistance Funding for Transit Agencies
On September 7, the FTA published a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) announcing the availability of $2.2 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds for transit systems that can demonstrate a need for additional assistance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NOFO is available here and applications are due by November 8.
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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.