Georgia County Government - August 2010 - (Page 35)

Feature ACCG Honors 10 Georgia Lawmakers For Outstanding Service During 2010 Session T he 2010 session of the Georgia General Assembly saw legislative leaders close one of the most difficult state budgets in latter day Georgia history and mark substantial progress in terms of transportation funding, trauma care, ethics and property tax reform. House Speaker David Ralston, among other legislators, demonstrated steady leadership under budgetary duress, creating legislation that many felt signifies a return of the historic partnership between the state and Georgia’s local governments. Landmark legislation supported by Georgia counties was the Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (HB 277), authorizing a one percent transportation sales tax (“T-SPLOST”) based on Georgia Regional Commission boundaries. Referenda to approve the tax are slated in every region of the state, except those that opt out, in 2012. In the metro Atlanta region, 15 percent of the funds will be returned based on a modified Local Assistance Road Program (LARP) formula to each county and city for discretionary local transportation projects while elsewhere in the state, 25 percent will be returned. The bill also authorizes a statewide human services transportation coordinating council and financial relief for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. More county goals were met as bills passed authorizing increased fees for services provided by the courts and sherriff ’s office (HB 1055) and more opportunity to work with the Department of Revenue to maximize sales tax collections. More examples of progress included SB 346, sponsored by Sen. Chip Rogers, that will bring more transparency and clarity to the property tax appraisal and appeal process. As every year, close working relationships between ACCG policy staff at the Capitol and legislators was integral to achieving workable results. This year ACCG extends recognition to 10 Georgia lawmakers by honoring them with 2010 Legislative Service Awards. These legislators, whose efforts on the floor of the House or Senate went far to craft legislation in the best interest of local government, smooth intergovernmental relations and Georgia property taxpayers, deserve our thanks. Speaker of the House David Ralston is honored with an ACCG Legislative Service Award this year for setting a new tone for leadership in the Georgia House of Representatives. His steady oversight enabled the General Assembly to finally tackle many complex issues that have been debated at length under the Gold Dome for several years running. He is credited Rep. David Ralston with restoring recognition of the his(R-Dist. 7) toric and necessary intergovernmental partnership that exists between Georgia’s state and county governments. Under his guidance this year, the General Assembly delivered legislative accomplishments in key areas. He also oversaw the closing of one of the largest budget deficits in state history. Sen. Chip Rogers, Senate Majority Leader, is honored this year with a Legislative Service Award for passing major property tax reform legislation (SB 346) through a very open process. Many recommendations brought forth by ACCG were incorporated into the final legislation, including recommendations for a regional board of equalization, property tax installment Sen. Chip Rogers billings and professional appeal hear(R-Dist. 21) ing officers. Sen. Rogers also modified the legislation based upon concerns expressed by ACCG. The legislation will help improve fairness and equity in the property tax assessment and appeals procedures and may also reduce some of the complaints county commissioners receive about property taxes. Sen. Rogers also assisted ACCG in moving several other pieces of legislation important to counties through the Senate. Rep. Ben Harbin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is honored this year for his efforts working with LEGISLATIVE continued on page 36 AUGUST 2010 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - August 2010

Georgia County Government - August 2010
President’s Message
Focus on Southwest Georgia
Lee County: Continuing to Prosper and Grow
Southwest Georgia Counties Pursue Real Innovations to Improve the Future
Leading Edge Waste-to-Energy Methane Gas Facilities Depend on County Landfi lls
ACCG Honors 10 Georgia Lawmakers For Outstanding Service During 2010 Session
ACCG Welcomes New Staff
Federal Health Reform: Implications for Counties
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - August 2010