Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 19

there is an opportunity to try again. The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170), which passed in the 2015-2016 regular session of the Georgia General Assembly, affords regions the opportunity to hold another T-SPLOST vote. With the majority of middle Georgia counties interested in doing so, the region is moving forward with assembling a roundtable of county chairmen and mayors to develop a project list, work with GDOT on cost estimates and review projections for revenues that would result from the 1 percent, 10-year sales tax addition. For cross-county functions like transportation, the benefits of working regionally are clear. When regional leaders jointly determine transportation priorities, economic centers of development can be more easily connected, rural counties with smaller tax bases can make needed improvements that benefit their neighbors and transportation upgrades can be consistent, rather than stopping and starting at county lines. Though 75 percent of T-SPLOST revenue is reserved for projects defined at the regional level, the balance can be spent by counties and cities on transportation initiatives they deem important. The challenge in this project will lie in motivating voters unaccustomed to voting regionally and reluctant to pay more in taxes. Both in middle Georgia and in other regions that decide to pursue a second referendum, coordinated regional voter outreach will be critical. Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert believes it is important to illustrate to citizens how projects will impact them personally. "If it will shorten their commute time, result in less traffic and anxiety and get them from point A to point B more safely, pennies on their purchases for a limited time is well worth it," he said. Chatham County: Federal Issues With competing priorities and 24/ 7 responsibilities, it is easy for the leaders at each level of government to become siloed. Still, when it comes to the federal government, it benefits both counties and the country to stay engaged. For Chatham County, a recent visit by County Manager Lee Smith and Assistant County Manager Michael Kaigler with U.S. The IRIS technology used by the Henry County Sheriff's Office staff streamlines data entry and ensure that the county avoids disastrous cases of mistaken identity. Photo courtesy of Henry County Sheriff's Office. senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue was a matter of public safety. The coastal county's mosquito control team, tasked with keeping deadly mosquito-borne diseases at bay, is being challenged by the new dredging required by a federal project to deepen the port. The county is reimbursed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a portion of the costs to maintain the dredge site-a location where a projected 80 billion mosquitoes could breed in a matter of weeks in the absence of proper controls-but needs more funding to absorb the budgetary impact of the nearly million dollar annual cost. "We came equipped with data to show our legislators why this money is needed to continue to protect both our citizens and the 15 million people who visit Savannah each year," said Smith. He emphasizes the importance of not assuming legislators are already aware of important local and regional issues. "Our legislators have huge responsibilities, and it's our job as a local government to help keep them informed, engaging with them when we have a problem and when we don't." DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader, current chair of ACCG's federal policy committee, says another effective way for counties to engage at the federal level is to connect with agencies. The U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and others announce new grants and programs for local governments on a regular basis, and developing relationships with regional agency staff can make those resources more visible and accessible. Supporting counties in establishing this bridge is a priority for the ACCG committee. "No man is an island, nor can any county operate independent of surrounding localities, the state or the federal government," said Rader. Whether they are making roadways easier to travel, supporting the well-being of their communities, bolstering public safety, improving the environment, fueling commercial development or opening lines of communication with other governments, Georgia county leaders are working hard to improve the lives of the 10 million citizens who call the state home. ■ Laura A. Hernandez is a freelance writer from Gwinnett County. She is a regular contributor to Georgia County Government magazine. She can be reached at laura.rylee@gmail.com. SUMMER 2016 www.accg.org 19 http://www.accg.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Summer 2016

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Cover Story: Growth and Opportunity in Elbert County
Georgia Counties Get Results in ACCG’s Policy Areas
Insights from Georgia’s Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Making Strides for Healthy Communities
Preparing for the Zika Virus in Georgia
Georgia Public Libraries Shine
Counties Emerge into the Digital Age
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 4
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 5
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 6
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 7
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Director’s Desk
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Cover Story: Growth and Opportunity in Elbert County
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 11
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 12
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 13
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 14
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 15
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Georgia Counties Get Results in ACCG’s Policy Areas
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 17
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 18
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 19
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Insights from Georgia’s Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 21
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Making Strides for Healthy Communities
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 23
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 24
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 25
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Preparing for the Zika Virus in Georgia
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 27
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Georgia Public Libraries Shine
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 29
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 30
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 31
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Counties Emerge into the Digital Age
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 33
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 34
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 35
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 36
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover4
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