Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 14

ISSUE FOCUS: COUNTY GOVERNMENT 101

Avoid Property Tax
Increases by

By Clint Mueller
ACCG Legislative Director

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS are under constant
pressure to provide services without increasing
property taxes. This can be difficult, especially
when inflation on the cost of providing existing services exceeds inflation in the county's
revenue streams. In fact, state law prohibits
counties from taking any inflation on their largest revenue source, property tax, without calling it a tax increase. The rates for many fees
and taxes are established in state law and the
county commissioners cannot legally adjust
them. In addition to the rate, the tax base-
what is taxable and what is not-is also legally
restricted in state law. These restrictions make
it more challenging for commissioners to shift
away from the property tax and fund more
services through other taxes and fees. With
all the revenue restrictions on county government, county commissioners must work hard
to effectively manage their revenues.
To begin an effective revenue management program, a county needs to track its
revenues and be aware of untapped revenue
options. This information should be captured
in a county revenue manual or handbook. If
your county does not have one, ACCG can

14

GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT

provide some examples including its County
Revenue Reference Guide. The manual should
contain a list of every revenue source the
county utilizes and those legally available
that the county has not chosen to implement.
Each revenue source should contain a brief
description, legal citation, exemptions
and a rate and revenue history for those
revenue sources that are active. The
revenue source should also include a
methodology that calculates a revenue forecast for future years. This
document should be reviewed and
updated annually. Many counties
lose out on revenues because they
are not aware a revenue source exists, or
they have not implemented it correctly. For
example, when local sales tax was eliminated
on energy used in manufacturing, a new local
energy excise tax was created but many counties did not implement this tax. Over time,
new county commissioners need to know this
remains an option.
Another example was a large county in
Georgia that collected financial institutions tax
in the unincorporated area but not within the



Georgia County Government - Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Spring 2019

President’s Message
Director's Desk
Ethics on the Edge
Avoid Property Tax Increases by Managing Revenues
EPD’s STAR Program Keeps Georgia Counties and Rights-of-Ways Clean
2019 ACCG Annual Conference Preview
College Underserved Community Partnership Program
Hurricane Michael: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Working with Hard-to-Count Communities
Reduce the Friction with a County-Wide Community Development System
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Intro
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 3
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 4
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 5
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 6
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 8
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Director's Desk
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Ethics on the Edge
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 11
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 12
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 13
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Avoid Property Tax Increases by Managing Revenues
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 15
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - EPD’s STAR Program Keeps Georgia Counties and Rights-of-Ways Clean
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 17
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 2019 ACCG Annual Conference Preview
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 19
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - College Underserved Community Partnership Program
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 21
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Hurricane Michael: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 23
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 24
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Working with Hard-to-Count Communities
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 26
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 27
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 28
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 29
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 30
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Reduce the Friction with a County-Wide Community Development System
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - 32
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Spring 2019 - cover4
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