Big Win for Counties | Hot 5

  • Published: June 27, 2016
  • This Week’s Top 5 Things You Need to Know

    PLUS… HOT TIP: Focus on Economic Development
    PLUS… Key Dates This Week

    1. Big Win for Alabama’s 67 Counties!

    The Simplified Sellers Use Tax Remittance Act (Act 2015-448) was one of the Association’s successful legislative priorities from the 2015 legislative session. This Act, which was developed and drafted at the Association’s Montgomery office, was designed to entice out-of-state retailers (primarily internet-based companies) to voluntarily collect a substitute sales tax of 8 percent on all items delivered into the state – with a quarter of collections going directly to counties.

    Since the program was implemented in October 2015, it has generated over $400,000 in additional revenue for the state, counties, and municipalities. The Association staff recently learned that one of the nation’s largest internet sellers has signed up for the program! It is estimated that this seller’s participation in the program could generate up to $40 million in additional revenue for Alabama each year – with 25% (or $10 million) of it being distributed among Alabama’s 67 counties based on population.

    This is a huge victory for the state and for Alabama’s 67 counties, and a testament to the power of speaking in ONE Voice! If you have any questions about Act 2015-448, please contact a member of the Association’s policy team at 334-263-7594.

     

    2. Progress Report: Alabama Board of Registrars Legislation Task Force

    In the past few months, the Alabama Board of Registrars Legislation Task Force has been meeting to discuss the current role of registrars and the possible changes to improve the state’s registrar system. At last week’s meeting, the task force considered recommendations for minimum qualifications and standards to ensure registrars are uniformly professional. Some of the standards discussed were:

    • Full-time work days
    • Must be a resident of the county
    • High school degree or equivalent
    • Continuing education
    • Must possess the ability to comply with election procedures and statutory requirements

    The task force will continue working in the months ahead to discuss training for registrars and funding for that training. Also, the task force will review the appointment process for registrars and whether there is a need for supervision of day-to-day operations on the local level. If you have any questions of comments on the Board of Registrars Legislation Task Force, please contact Chase Cobb (ccobb@alabamacounties.org or 334-263-7594).

     

    3. 10-Year Road and Bridge Plan

    A group of county engineers met in Shelby County last week to develop a template for each county to outline a 10-year road and bridge plan. The plan is designed to show legislators and other infrastructure stakeholders the impact a modest 6-cents per gallon gas tax increase would have in each county. Similar to the ATRIP templates completed by all 67 county engineers last year, the 10-year plan will be a simple, fill-in-the-blank document that will be converted to a “report” format by the Association staff.

    The 2016 ACCA Annual Convention agenda includes a presentation on how to complete the template and how to use it when speaking with legislators about each county’s road and bridge needs. All county commissioners and county engineers are encouraged to attend that session. Completing these templates will be an essential part of the messaging as proponents of the six-cents gas tax continue advocating for the increase.

     

    4. ATRIP-2 Committee Convenes

    As road construction funded by the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) nears its conclusion, work is beginning on ATRIP-2. The Alabama Transportation Safety Fund, established by Act 2016-150, provides the framework for a second round of ATRIP projects, and John Cooper, director of the Alabama Department of Transportation, convened the ATRIP-2 Committee for the first time last week to review options for next steps. ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield has been appointed as a voting member of the ATRIP-2 Committee which will establish the criteria for projects to be funded with the new bond issue outlined in the 2016 act. The bond issue and the county projects funded by it still hinge on the passage of new funding.

     

    5. ALGTI Board Approves Schedules for Upcoming Year

    Last week the Board of Directors for the Alabama Local Government Training Institute (ALGTI) set the schedule for training classes for commissioner education and county employee education offered by the County Government Education Institute. This was the first board meeting since Joe Sumners, Ph.D., took the helm at Auburn University’s Government and Economic Development Institute. Sumners, who was part of developing the current commissioner education program some years ago, is now directing ALGTI programs. A complete list of classes should be available at the Association’s Annual Convention in August.

     

     

    Notice: The ACCA office will be closed Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. 


    Hot 5′s Hot Tip

    Focusing on Economic Development

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    County officials are at the center of economic development efforts in their communities, and that’s why the next issue of County Commission magazine focuses on the “Route to the Ribbon Cutting.” Watch the mail this week for your copy!

    Also coming up soon is more training for local officials from the Delta Regional Authority. The “Economic Development Strategies” course is offered next month in Clarke County.

    But if you don’t want to wait to do more to help your county’s economic future, social media is a great option. Industry leaders are active on social media too, especially on LinkedIn, so it is an ideal place to tout the positive things happening in your county.

     

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    KEY DATES THIS WEEK

    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29

    Last day of regular registration
    Alabama Jail Training Academy “Corrections Law” in July

    Last day of regular registration
    County Government Education Institute “Overview of County Government” in July

    Safety Insurance Discount Program (SIDP) Training
    in Autauga County