Municipal Desk Reference


Most Recent Additions
This GMA report highlights the impact of the passage of recent sales tax exemptions on Georgia's local governments.

Published Date: November 7, 2014

Fall is one of the busiest times of year for city fairs and festivals. Calculating the economic impact of an event that brings tourists to town, however, is hard to do because the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) does not provide cities with jurisdictional sales tax collections data.

Published Date: October 6, 2014

Participatory budgeting, an innovation in direct citizen participation in government decision-making, began 25 years ago in a town in Brazil. It has since been adopted by 1,000 other cities worldwide and by some U.S. cities as well.

Published Date: September 16, 2014

In the wake of the Georgia Supreme Court ruling last October that declared the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) “baseball arbitration” process unconstitutional, GMA and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) formed a task force to examine whether or not the process in current law requiring negotiations needs legislative adjustments.

Published Date: July 31, 2014

The following recordings are the first in a series of webinars for Georgia cities that use QuickBooks Pro® 2013 for governmental accounting purposes.

Published Date: July 17, 2014

Changes to Georgia's tax laws during the 2014 Legislative Session are estimated to cost local governments over $153 million between FY 2015 and FY 2019.

Published Date: May 13, 2014

According to Sabrina Cape, Certified Public Accountant at Capable Financial Solutions, municipal fiscal sustainability is more than just a math exercise of balancing revenues to expenditures. She says it’s also a matter of evaluating (or reevaluating) what kinds and levels of services cities will provide before they determine how to fund those services.

Published Date: May 8, 2014

The familiar phrase from Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am…just the facts,” is what Sergeant Joe Friday would say when he needed to get to the details he was looking for—and that is what Georgia’s cities are saying with the FACT Act.

Published Date: January 6, 2014

This publication is to familiarize city officials with some of the important basics in the area of alcoholic beverage regulation.

Published Date: January 1, 2014

This video on budget preparation, presented by Pam Helton, Director of Consulting Services at the Georgia Municipal Association, is designed to provide an overview of the budgeting process for small cities.

Published Date: November 27, 2013

All local governments receiving proceeds from SPLOST must publish a SPLOST report in a newspaper of general circulation within that city or county and on the government website, if they have one, by December 31 of each year.

Published Date: November 27, 2013

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled last month that the “baseball arbitration” process added to the Local Option Sales Tax law in 2010 violates the separa­tion of powers clause in the state constitution. In all, potentially 32 special districts, which included 114 cities and 32 counties, were affected by the court’s decision to rule the “baseball arbitration” clause in the LOST statute unconstitutional and any subsequent interpretations of that court decision.

Published Date: November 5, 2013

The National League of Cities’ 28th annual survey of city finance officers reveals an overall picture of a gradually improving economy and improving city fiscal conditions. A majority of city finance officers report that their cities are better able to meet financial needs in 2013 than in 2012.

Published Date: October 15, 2013

The fate of cities’ Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) agreements in at least 17 counties are in limbo following a ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday, Oct. 7, that declared “baseball arbitration” unconstitutional because it delegates taxing powers to the courts, a violation of the separation of powers provision of the Georgia Constitution.

Published Date: October 7, 2013

A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of the city of Dahlonega in determining how Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenues would be split.

Published Date: September 19, 2013

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has published an implementation guide for the new GASB standards regarding financial reporting for state and local government pension plans.

Published Date: August 7, 2013

Hundreds of small cities in Georgia are faced with the same dilemma: a capital project that they want to complete to make their community a better place to live.

Published Date: June 6, 2013

This one-page fact sheet dispels some of the myths surrounding the Marketplace Fairness Act. GMA encourages city officials to use this when speaking with their member of Congress about this issue.

Published Date: May 21, 2013

As the first distributions of Georgia’s Motor Vehicles Ad Valorem Title Tax (TAVT) begin to be received by local governments around the state, there may be some initial confusion as to just what these funds are and how to account for them.

Published Date: April 30, 2013

President Obama’s FY2014 budget proposal includes measures designed to bring in additional revenues by closing tax loopholes. Among the proposals is a 28 percent cap on tax-exempt interest for municipal bonds, a limitation that the President sought in FY2013.

Published Date: April 15, 2013

A national survey of city officials shows that despite improvement in many economic health indicators, cities around the country report their economies have not yet rebounded due in large part to slow income and job growth.

Published Date: April 9, 2013

Municipal bonds were front and center in both chambers of Congress last month. As Congress and the Administration continue to look for ways to find revenues to reduce the deficit or fund new programs, eliminating or capping the tax exemption on interest earned on municipal bonds remains a viable option to some in Washington.

Published Date: April 9, 2013

The sequester is upon us: $85.4 billion in federal spending cuts are being made this year across most areas of federal government with the exception of certain entitlement programs.

Published Date: April 9, 2013

Rome City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter has been advocating for Internet tax fairness on behalf of Rome, other Georgia cities and GMA for a number of years. In this Q&A, he talks about Internet tax fairness and how Georgia city officials can help get the federal Marketplace Fairness Act passed.

Published Date: March 20, 2013

As Congress and the Administration continue the debate over the national deficit, federal budget, and tax code reform, most of the news has focused on the political standoff associated with sequestration. Two areas that appear to have bipartisan support, removing the tax exemption on interest paid for municipal bonds and legislation to begin enforcing the collection of taxes on remote/internet sales, impact cities directly.

Published Date: February 28, 2013

In the state’s current economic conditions, collecting every penny owed really counts. Cities can play an important role in ensuring that all revenue owed to the state and local governments is collected. For the second year, the Department of Revenue (DOR) is interested in having cities submit information on the retail and sales businesses in your municipality.

Published Date: January 3, 2013

Cities continue to face the prolonged effects of the economic downturn according to a new report by the National League of Cities.

Published Date: September 14, 2012

The state and local sales and use taxes on energy used in manufacturing will be phased out over a 4-year period, beginning January 1, 2013. Cities and counties can, however, adopt a local excise tax on energy used in manufacturing to replace the lost sales tax revenues.

Published Date: August 31, 2012

This publication has been prepared to provide municipal officials a discussion of legal and policy considerations relevant to the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

Published Date: August 1, 2012

During the 2012 legislative session the Georgia General Assembly overhauled Georgia’s tax system in large and meaningful ways. One of the changes to Georgia’s tax system will provide for an exemption to the sales tax used in manufacturing starting in 2013.

Published Date: June 28, 2012

The Georgia General Assembly, in 2011, enacted legislation allowing local governments to call for referenda concerning whether Sunday package sales of beer, wine and potentially liquor should be allowed in that jurisdiction

Published Date: June 28, 2012

Q&A from Ask GMA.

Published Date: May 9, 2012

A new survey by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence finds that more than half of state and local governments still have a pay freeze and are adjusting retirement and health care benefits.

Published Date: May 9, 2012

Often called a citizen’s report, a Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) contains charts, graphics, photographs and easy to understand statements about a city’s financial status, services and projects.

Published Date: May 9, 2012

Evidence shows that Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, contributed to a significant decline in the state’s public services.

Published Date: January 5, 2012

Q&A from Ask GMA.

Published Date: August 4, 2011

Q&A from Ask GMA.

Published Date: May 1, 2010

Q&A from Ask GMA.

Published Date: January 7, 2010

Cities now have the ability to charge convenience fees to offset the cost of offerring credit cards as a payment option for different types of revenues.

Published Date: July 30, 2009

Q&A from Ask GMA.

Published Date: April 2, 2009

Q&A from Ask GMA.

Published Date: November 3, 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency's "Financing Alternatives Comparison Tool" is a a free financial analysis tool that helps identify the most cost effective method to fund a wastewater or drinking water management project.

Published Date: August 8, 2008

Georgia law provides specific powers to enable local governments to embark on projects that will foster public/private partnerships and spur economic growth. Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) are one of the legislative tools available to support cities’ community and economic development ventures.

Published Date: March 4, 2008

Q&A about Internet taxes, the Internet Tax Moratorium, the Streamlined Sales Tax Project and the impact of all of these on cities.

Published Date: February 5, 2008

In 2002, the General Assembly approved legislation to allow city governments that levy a property tax to extend the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG) to city residents.

Published Date: April 1, 2007

In Georgia, franchise fees are an important component of a diversified revenue stream for cities.

Published Date: October 15, 2006

Georgia is fortunate to have a thriving tourism industry that, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, employs 211,800 Georgians, produces $26 billion in tourism expenditures and $6.1 billion in resident wages; and generates $1.2 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Published Date: October 1, 2006

Published Date: February 1, 2005

The Georgia Redevelopment Powers Law gave cities and counties the authority to sell bonds to finance infrastructure and other redevelopment costs within a specifically defined area called a Tax Allocation District (TAD).

Published Date: May 25, 2004

Historic downtown buildings provide cities with a sense of identity, stability and an awareness of place. Communities across the state have focused on downtown revitalization as a means to preserve the past, improve the quality of life and encourage economic development.

Published Date: April 1, 2004

Published Date: March 1, 2004

This publication has been prepared for municipal officials as a practical guide to the budget process.

Published Date: December 1, 2003

This guide is an overview of the current law governing occupation taxes and regulatory fees and should be helpful to municipal officials when implementing occupation tax and regulatory fee ordinances.

Published Date: July 1, 2003

This guide is a discussion of sources for capital projects funding and is intended to assist municipal officials in identifying issues so that they can discuss them and appropriately consult with their city attorney.

Published Date: July 1, 2003

This publication has been prepared to help municipal officials understand how to prepare a grant proposal.

Published Date: April 1, 2003

Published Date: August 1, 2002

Q&A about occupation taxes and regulatory fees.

Published Date: December 19, 2001

In the 1993 Legislative Session, the Georgia General Assembly distinguished between occupation taxes and regulatory fees.

Published Date: December 19, 2001

This publication is designed to advise city officials of the various methods of privatization and expose them to the privatization efforts of various cities in Georgia.

Published Date: March 1, 2001

Organizations & Other Online Resources