Capitol Connection E-Newsletter – November 2017

Registration Available for 2018 County Days at the Capitol
Previously known as District Days at the Capitol, County Days presents county officials and staff with an opportunity to engage with the ACCG policy staff and key state leaders to discuss significant issues before the General Assembly. County Days at the Capitol will be held on February 28 & March 7, 2018. Registration and more information can be found here. Please contact Nicole Logan at with any questions. 
2018 Legislative Toolkit Now Available Online
The 2018 Legislative Toolkit will inform individuals about key issues of significance to counties with policy briefs on the association’s top three legislative priorities and the Policy Agenda as defined by the entire ACCG membership. This tool will also aid Georgia’s county officials in becoming more engaged in the state’s policy-making process while asserting the collective voice of county commissioners in legislative affairs. Access the 2018 Legislative Toolkit here.

ACCG encourages counties to annually designate or confirm their county legislative coordinator. The CLC network serves as a communication tool to keep counties informed about ACCG’s legislative advocacy efforts. Learn more about the importance of updating your county's CLC's here .

Deadline to Provide Firefighters' Cancer Coverage is Jan. 1, 2018
The ACCG-Interlocal Risk Management Agency (ACCG-IRMA) is currently offering Georgia counties an opportunity to enroll in a new Georgia Firefighter’s Cancer Program designed to meet the requirements of HB 146. The coverage provides lump sum medical and long-term disability to paid and volunteer firefighters. The new law requires that the coverage be provided to all Georgia firefighters effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Actual cost is $223 per year per paid firefighter and $197 per year for a volunteer firefighter with a three-year rate guarantee. The rates are discounted when firefighters are shared with other counties.

Enrollment details have been sent to every county. If your county did not receive the information or if you have questions about the program, please contact ACCG Insurance Programs Deputy Director Ashley Abercrombie or a member of the ACCG Insurance Programs staff at 404-522-5022.
DOR Releases 911 Prepaid Revenues for 2018
The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) recently released information regarding the reduction in prepaid 911 fees received this year. Although DOR cannot provide details, it is ACCG's understanding that the reduction was due to a large refund, probably one that spanned a multiple year time frame. It has been advised that the correction will likely result in a 10 percent reduction in 911 prepaid revenues in future years. Please budget an amount for 2018 that is about 10 percent less than what you received in 2016. ACCG continues to work with the newly created 911 Authority to see what laws need to be changed to give counties more information and advanced notice of changes to their 911 prepaid revenues.

If you have any questions, please contact   Debra Nesbit or  Clint Mueller at ACCG .

Department of Audits Releases Report on GATE Program
In October, the Georgia Department of Audits issued a performance audit of the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) Program. The GATE Program, established in 2013, exempts certain agricultural producers from paying sales taxes on products purchased for their agricultural operations. Agricultural producers apply to the Department of Agriculture for a “GATE Card” which can then be presented to retailers who do not charge sales taxes on purchases for the cardholder’s agricultural operations. The audit concludes that the Department of Agriculture is not collecting the necessary information to determine initial eligibility for GATE Cards. In addition, the audit reports that 29 of 42 random audits conducted by the Department of Revenue revealed ineligible GATE cardholders and/or ineligible purchases by those cardholders. The full audit can be viewed here .

2018 DCA Local Government and Authorities Survey and Report Schedule Released
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has released their 2018 schedule for county, municipal, and authority reports and surveys. This schedule includes deadlines, links to each report and survey, contact information for DCA staff overseeing the report or survey, and the relevant code sections that pertain to each survey or the report if applicable. All questions regarding username and password information needs to be directed to . The full schedule is available here .

New GDOT Local Grants Administrator Announced
The Georgia Department of Transportation recently named Kelvin Mullins as the new Local Grants Administrator. Mullins has more than 20 years of experience at GDOT, most recently serving as administrator of the highway construction program funded through the Transportation Investment Act (TIA).

Proposed Changes To EPD Solid Waste Management Rules
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Land Protection Branch has published proposed rule changes for solid waste management. The proposed rules can be viewed here . The proposed rules include requirements for all solid waste handling permits (new and existing) to be reviewed and updated (as necessary) every five years.

Counties who own and operate landfills are encouraged to attend the public hearing taking place Nov. 28, 2017 from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Department of Natural Resources Tradeport Training Room:

4244 International Parkway
Suite 116
Atlanta, Georgia 30354.

Written comments addressing the proposed rules can be made by December 18 and submitted via email to or mailed physically addressed to Branch Chief, Land Protection Branch, 4244 International Parkway, Suite 104, Atlanta, Georgia 30354.  

TSPLOST Passes in Seven Counties
Nine Georgia counties had Single County Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) initiatives on the Nov. 7,2017 ballot. Unofficial election results show TSPLOST passed in seven counties (Athens-Clarke, Colquitt, Decatur, Haralson, Putnam, Walker and Ware) and failed in two counties (Dade and Spalding).

In the seven counties that passed TSPLOST, the tax will be levied at 1 percent for five years and is solely dedicated for transportation purposes. Sales tax collection will begin in April 2018.
NACo releases analysis of H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
According to the National Association of Counties (NACo), many components of H.R. 1 will impact counties and the services they provide their residents. In addition to key county priorities, NACo has also provided a list of other changes to provide more context and information about the overall bill.
Check out ACCG TV
Are you interested in seeing what's going on at ACCG? Visit ACCG TV to view conference videos, interviews and more. Stay Tuned to see what has in store!
Questions? Email the
ACCG Legislative team:

Register for County Days at the Capitol!