At first blush, you might not think about conservation as a contributor to your community’s economic health. But numerous communities in Georgia and across the country have realized that natural resources, as well as cultural and heritage assets, are key economic and community investments.
As you are likely aware, Georgia law provides some protection to public officers and employees from personal liability for official actions. This protection is known as the doctrine of official immunity. Official immunity, sometimes referred to as qualified immunity, is different than sovereign immunity, which protects the governmental entity when an official is sued in his or her official capacity.
This past month I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to over 450 newly elected city officials during their mandated training session in Athens and Tifton. I touched on a number of different things with our newly elected brethren. One thing I hit on was the purpose of being an elected official and the current environment in which we serve.
Local leaders have realized that preserving their downtown corridors supports the stability of their communities and maintains that which makes it unique. This, in turn, makes these areas more desirable destinations and helps stabilize real estate prices.
Despite significant investments, local and state funds will not be enough to meet cities needs for transportation, rural broadband, water and sewer, public safety, and other critical needs. For us to succeed in addressing comprehensive infrastructure needs, the federal government must remain a long-term partner.
We’re submitting this article on Feb. 15 also known as Singles Awareness Day, National Gumdrop Day, and National I Want Butterscotch Day. This is important because City Hall Selfie Day started in 2016 when Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) member and Routt County Deputy County Manager Dan Weinheimer noted the ridiculousness of holidays like these and wondered why we are not celebrating local government.
In this month’s front page story highlighting GMA’s Annual Convention, you’ll notice our theme “The Character of Cities.” We take this theme a step further with a focus on the words, “civility, kindness and inclusion.” Mayor Dorothy Hubbard has made the topic of civility a cornerstone of her GMA presidency, and with good reason.
Wireless telecommunication companies seeking to pass state laws in their favor argue the main impediment to broadband deployment is the local governments. We’ve found this to be quite the contrary. Cities across Georgia are approving small cell permits at a high rate.
A city’s charter is an important and guiding document for the city. It is a law that cannot be ignored. When your city council adopts ordinances, they must be consistent with the city’s charter and applicable state law. Sometimes the mayor and city council disagree on who has certain powers under the charter. The city council may pass ordinances to clarify this or simply to shift power, but when do their actions come into conflict with the charter?
Georgia’s roadway infrastructure network is a key reason the state has been named the No.1 state in the nation in which to do business. To continue to be the best state in which to do business Georgia has continued to invest in its roadway infrastructure. House Bill 170, approved in 2015, was a landmark step that will generate nearly $1 billion annually. But additional innovate financing mechanisms also continue to be funded and made available to Georgia’s local governments.
“Be nice.” That’s the sage advice of Dalton, a bouncer at a rough bar, as portrayed by Patrick Swayze in the movie Road House (admit it, you’ve watched the movie on cable TV). While Dalton was focusing on how to handle unruly customers, I believe there’s quite a bit of wisdom packed into those two words for us as city officials.
“Local control.” As city officials and employees it is the mantra that drives us to improve our local communities. Politicians running for federal and state offices also speak glowingly of local control—well, until it becomes inconvenient to their goals. But what does “local control” really mean and how does it really work in the complex world of federal and state laws?
We finally realized that if we wanted to improve the competitive position of our local businesses, save existing jobs and be attractive to new companies wanting to locate in Thomasville, the community had to provide this important service by constructing a fiber optic-based, municipal network. We met with heads of local industry, education and healthcare to further gauge local support.
Due to strong legislative and political leadership, this progress has truly positioned Georgia to become the transportation, logistics and mobility capital of the United States. However, there is still work to do. To achieve our goal, the state needs to continue to foster bold, visionary leadership into the future.
I'm excited to begin this next phase of my career as your Executive Director of GMA, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such an amazing organization. I have heard from so many GMA members and appreciate the outpouring of support and encouragement as we embark on this journey together.