Georgia County Government - May/June 2012 - (Page 28)

Feature How Counties Can Stay on Top with an Uncertainty in Federal Funding By Holland & Knight I n a “post-earmark” Washington, D.C., it is critical for local leaders to take strategic measures ensuring that local governments continue to be successful in a highly competitive environment. Accomplishing priorities requires a thoughtful, targeted and creative blend of federal grants, policy guidance, congressional advocacy and agency partnerships. Given a funding environment that is continually changing (and, yes, with the possibility that earmarks will return and formula highway and transit funds are expected to be considered as the House organizes its FY 2013 spending bills. Many of these programs already saw significant cuts in FY 2012, including a 12 percent cut to CDBG and a 38 percent cut to the HOME program. Advocacy It is critical for local government leaders to weigh in with members of Congress to urge them not to reduce funding below FY 2012 levels for these programs. Between now and November, members of Congress will return to Georgia many times. Local leaders should meet with the members to share information on how counties are utilizing these federal programs, why maintaining full funding for these programs is important and the impact of last year’s cuts to these programs. To convey this message effectively, counties are advised to share economic impact information when possible. Most importantly, use these advocacy efforts to help clarify county needs; explain how federal funding priorities and convey this information to federal legislators. ■ Holland & Knight is ACCG’s preferred partner for federal advocacy. Holland & Knight has dedicated a team of advisors closely monitoring ongoing negotiations that can provide timely updates to clients along with strategic advices on how to navigate this shifting landscape. For more information, contact Senior Policy Advisor Shawna Watley at (202) 828-5083 or or Legislative Assistant Paolo Mastrangelo at (202) 4695153 or in one to three fiscal years), strategic goals should focus on developing a multi-layered strategy that positions the county to secure funding for ongoing and new priorities. Even in a tough fiscal climate, local governments can find ways to be better positioned to achieve the policy and funding priorities for projects. As long as priorities are clear and goals are communicated clearly to Congress and key federal agencies, the county will be in a better position for success over the next three to five years. Developing a federal strategy to match both the vision and county plan will take serious effort. Given that this is fiscal year (FY) 2012, the focus for the next six-to-eight months should be on a forward-looking federal agenda with funding and policy goals that can be realized in FY 2013 and FY 2014. The agenda should then be matched with a thorough plan of action, including outreach strategies and relationship building to help get the support. FY 2013 Appropriations Congress began its FY 2013 appropriations work with the House’s passage of the chamber’s FY 2013 budget plan. Under the House’s plan for the coming fiscal year, discretionary spending would be capped at $1.028 trillion, $19 billion less than the $1.047 trillion agreed to by the Administration and Congress in last year’s Budget Control Act (PL 112-25). The House leadership’s decision to propose spending reductions below the level agreed to under the Budget Control Act has upset Senate leaders and appropriators, and will likely lead to a contentious appropriations cycle and delay final funding decisions on FY 2013 spending legislation until elections have concluded in November. Until then, the House Appropriations Committee will likely press forward with organizing its FY 2013 appropriations measures at the lower funding level proposed by the House Budget Committee. Keep in Mind With the presidential election months away, Washington, D.C. is becoming more and more polarized. However, there is still a short time period before the election brings everything to a complete halt, and counties have much at stake during that time that will affect short- and long-term funding priorities. 28 GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT What This Means for Georgia Counties As a result, significant cuts to discretionary programs that benefit local governments, such as CDBG, HOME, COPS, Byrne/JAG, the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - May/June 2012

President’s Message
In Memoriam
Director’s Desk
An Inside Look at Criminal Justice Reform
Taylor County: Strongly Rooted in an Agricultural Economy with Expectations for Growth
ACCG Annual Meeting Highlights
How Counties Can Stay on Top with an Uncertainty in Federal Funding
A More Level Playing Field for the 2012 LOST Renegotiations
Counties & the Law: Road Acquisition and Abandonment
Preferred Partner News: Georgia United Credit Union Now Welcomes County Employees
Preferred Partner News: How M2M Technology is Poising Local Government for Growth
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - May/June 2012