April 2016, Vol. 10, No. 4 Past issues | Subscribe | Printer Friendly | Advertise | eMagazine Archives

New Local Government Financial Disclosure Requirements for Economic Development Tax Incentives - GASB 77

DATE: April 12, 2016

TIME: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Have you agreed to any tax "abatement agreements"? Or, were your tax revenues affected by somebody else's tax abatement agreement? Even if you didn't consent - and even if you didn't know - big changes were made to governmental accounting standards, affecting data collection, compliance, intergovernmental relations, the environment for economic development incentives, and more.

Does this affect you? That depends on a lot of technicalities about how Georgia delivers incentives. If you are affected...Who did this to you? How? And when? Find out more during this webinar. Participants will gain critical knowledge for both local governments and local authorities.

To register, click here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4226499979472215809

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


DCA PlanFirst program

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs' PlanFirst applications are due May 15, 2016. PlanFirst recognizes and rewards effective plan implementation by communities throughout the state. To be eligible to apply, a community must be a qualified local government, be up-to-date with its mandated reporting to DCA and have met the minimum performance standards as set forth in their regional commission’s regional plan. Any size community may apply — it just has to have made significant strides toward implementing its comprehensive plan.

Designation as a PlanFirst community comes with rewards. The incentives available to those communities include, but are not limited to:

  • Annual CDBG application eligibility for non-entitlement communities.
  • Reductions on basis points for various DCA and GEFA programs.
  • Other incentives listed on the PlanFirst web page.

Program application and more information are available on DCA’s website: http://www.dca.ga.gov/development/PlanningQualityGrowth/programs/PlanFirst.asp

If your community wishes to apply and would like to speak to someone about the program, please contact adriane.wood@dca.ga.gov.


Invest in Your Future: New 2016-2017 Public Finance Courses

ATLANTA – The Center for State and Local Finance (CSLF) recently launched the third year of its executive education program with a series of six core courses — and two new special sessions — tailored for chief financial officers and those who aspire to be chief financial officers.

Registration is now open for the 2016-2017 courses. (Download a program flyer.)

CSLF developed its program after extensive feedback from veteran chief financial officers who emphasized the need for in-depth, high-quality training for those pursuing senior management positions in government.

Our courses focus on the strategic thinking and analytic skills that public finance leaders need to advance in the field and inspire good governance, going beyond basic content knowledge.

Course options include:

·June 16-17: Forecasting (Special Session)

·July 13-15: Treasury and investment management

·Aug. 11-12: Cost Analysis (Special Session)

·Sept. 21-23: Debt management

·Nov. 1-4: Operating and capital budgeting

·Feb. 6-8: Leadership

·March 7-10: Government financial statements and accounting

·May 17-19: Retirement, risk management and procurement

CSLF draws on world-class faculty from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, which is among the top-ranked programs in the country in public finance and budgeting. Leading experts from the public and private sector also are invited to teach and guest lecture.

Space is limited, so early registration is advised. As a special bonus, public-sector employees receive a 30 percent discount on tuition. For more information and to register, visit our website at cslf.gsu.edu/training or contact us at cslf@gsu.edu or 404-413-0327.  

About the Center for State and Local Finance

The Center for State and Local Finance (CSLF) builds on the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies' reputation in scholarship and education in public finance. CSLF's mission is to develop the people and ideas for next generation public finance.


House Bill 216 Provides Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Firefighters Diagnosed With Cancer

As a result of the passage of House Bill 216, Georgia firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer may be covered by workers’ compensation beginning July 1, 2016. A firefighter who receives a cancer diagnosis must show by a preponderance of the evidence, including medical evidence, that the cancer is attributable to the performance of his or her duties as a firefighter. If that can be proven, the claim will be compensable, and the employer will be responsible for lost time and medical benefits, as well as compensation for any resulting permanency or a death benefit if the cancer is incurable.

While the number of cancer claims filed is not anticipated to be significant, those that are compensable are predicted to be costly. Cancer claims are expected to be long-term claims, whether due to treatment, death benefits, or both.

There will be no immediate costs to counties due to this new law, but as claims are filed and costs are incurred, the expense will be passed on to the employer in the form of higher premiums for paid and volunteer firefighters, if the latter are covered by resolution. It is difficult to estimate how much the cost will be since there are data limitations and conflicting studies on the connection between certain occupational diseases and the firefighting profession.

"It is reasonable to provide workers’ compensation benefits to a firefighter who contracts cancer due to the performance of their job," David Uhlman, ACCG’s director of insurance programs, said. "Many forms of cancer, however, are caused by other risk factors, such as smoking and heredity."

"We are hopeful that Administrative Law Judges that determine the compensability of claims will require and insist upon sufficient proof that the cancer was truly job-related," he continued.

There are other concerns with the bill. If a firefighter has been employed by numerous cities and counties, which entity is responsible for the payment of benefits? Unlike a typical on-the-job injury, which can be pinpointed to a specific date and time, cancer is generally contracted over a period of months or years. The law does not provide a coverage ‘trigger,’ so, at this time, it is not known if coverage is the responsibility of the employer where the exposure took place or the employer when the disease was diagnosed.

Another concern is the service requirement. How long must a firefighter have worked before they can file a claim? How long after their retirement or termination can they file a claim?

ACCG Insurance Programs is currently working with legal counsel to assist counties with tips to minimize their exposure to cancer claims. While this may involve suggestions for equipment or procedures that could better protect firefighters, it may also include pre-employment physicals; documentation of firefighters with existing risk factors or habits like smoking; or better record keeping to document exposure to known carcinogens to clarify which cancer claims are work-related.

While many support providing workers’ compensation to firefighters who contract cancer due to the performance of their job, it is important to remember the cost impact to the counties’ workers’ compensation premiums as well. The ACCG Workers’ Compensation Fund and the few commercial insurance companies that currently write this coverage will keep a close eye on future claims resulting from the passage of the bill.

For questions about this new policy, please contact ACCG's David Uhlman at duhlman@accg.org or Ashley Abercrombie at aabercrombie@accg.org.


Apply for the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge

Is public health a priority in your county?

Submit a proposal for the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge! The Challenge aims to improve measurable health outcomes and promote health, wellness, equity and social interaction through practical, evidence-based strategies and cross-sector collaboration.Cities and counties selected to participate in the Challenge must have strong cross-sector teams focused on public health issues that reflect community priorities. Challenge participants that demonstrate measurable results are eligible to win up to $500,000. The deadline for submitting a proposal is May 31, 2016 at 5 p.m. EDT. For more information, visit www.healthiestcities.org.

Counties and cities involved in the Challenge will work to improve residents' health by incorporating health considerations into policies and practices, developing replicable strategies that achieve measurable results and creating sustainability by leveraging prize money from the Challenge with long-term funding sources.

All counties and cities are eligible to submit a proposal for the Challenge.* There are two tiers of participants based upon population size.


Tier 1 – counties and cities with populations between 65,000 and 250,000.

Tier 2 – counties and cities with populations between 250,001 and 600,000 AND counties and cities with populations over 600,000 whose proposal targets a segment of their population that is between 65,000 and 600,000.


*Counties and cities with less than the minimum population of 65,000 are also eligible to submit a proposal if they partner with another county or city and their combined population is between 65,000 and 600,000.


The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is generously supported by the Aetna Foundation. The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a partner on the Challenge along with the American Public Health Association and CEOs for Cities.

The deadline to submit a proposal is May 31, 2016 at 5 p.m. EDT. For more information, visit www.healthiestcities.org. Direct questions to Debbie Nadzam, Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Director, at 216.523.7348 or hccc@ceosforcities.org.


Counties and other organizations with water or power delivery authority are invited to leverage their resources by cost sharing with the Bureau of Reclamation on Drought Resiliency Projects.

The projects will:

  • improve water management
  • implement systems to facilitate the voluntary sale, transfer, or exchange of water
  • provide benefits for fish, wildlife and the environment to mitigate impacts caused by drought
All applications are due Monday, April 11, 2016. Click here for more information and details on how to apply.

If you have any questions or difficulty applying, please contact the bureau's Grants Management Specialist Michael Dieterich via email or at 303-445-2484.



GCIP Spotlight for April: Berry College student interns with the Murray County Sole Commissioner’s office

Hannah Stanley, a biology major at Berry College, interned with the Murray County Sole Commissioner’s office during the summer of 2015 as part of the Georgia County Internship Program. During her internship, Stanley was tasked with helping the county with its marketing needs, managing social media accounts and relaying information to the public. The internship helped her to understand firsthand the purpose of county government and what it means to provide services for the public.


Stanley’s major duties included updating the county’s social media pages, handling constituent issues, writing press releases for newspapers, using social media to promote county events, and creating various pamphlets, brochures, and flyers for marketing Murray County. For example, the county had recently announced the Chatsworth Outdoor Market, coordinated between the Sole Commissioner and the Salvation Army. While preparing for the announcement, Stanley created diagrams and informational flyers that were then presented to vendors, posted online, and circulated throughout the community.

When asked about the most significant success during her internship, Stanley commented that her involvement on social media following the announcement of the inland port ranked the highest on her list. In order to address the public’s concerns, she devoted substantial time each day to personally responding to the questions posted on the county website. She also created an in depth Question and Answer Guide to answer the most commonly asked questions to ensure the public was properly informed. After uploading this information on the county website, it received over 12,000 views. This experience taught Stanley the importance of providing detailed information to the public and that while the county cannot control how people respond, that they can ensure that the public has the true facts on which to base their opinions.

In terms of the skills learned through the internship, Stanley was able to employ marketing and mediating tactics that she had learned in school, which was a fun and enriching experience. In that a significant part of the internship required her to interact with the public, these skills were very helpful and she could see the success of these methods in a practical setting. It further helped her to feel better equipped to handle conflict, particularly in a professional setting, than before the internship. Since she was required to speak with a large number of people during her tenure at the commissioner’s office, those interactions bettered her ability to communicate and discuss issues in a diplomatic fashion, despite someone else’s anger or frustration. Regardless of the field that Stanley ultimately chooses, she feels that the skills she learned through her internship on conflict, accessibility, and communication will always be beneficial, whether in writing resumes and cover letters, during job interviews, or handling issues in the workplace.

For more information on the GCIP, please visit the ACCG Civic Affairs Foundation website at http://www.civicaffairs.org.

Mauldin & Jenkins
B & B Oil Company, Inc.
Naylor Association Solutions
ACCG, Georgia's County Association
191 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 700
Atlanta, GA 30303
phone: 404-522-5022 | fax: 404-525-2477 | ACCG.org

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