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Subject 110-5-1 LOCAL GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY GRANT PROGRAM

Rule 110-5-1-.01 Purpose

The purpose of the Local Government Efficiency Grant Program is to provide incentives relating to the consolidation of local government units and local government service delivery programs in those cases where such consolidation will improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness, without disturbing territorial arrangements that already operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 36-86-4, the Local Government Efficiency Grant Program shall be administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Rule 110-5-1-.02 Definitions

(1) Board means the Board of Community Affairs.
(2) Commissioner means the Commissioner of Community Affairs.
(3) Department means the Department of Community Affairs.
(4) Georgia Future Communities Commission means a study committee Created during the 1995 session of the General Assembly pursuant to H.R. 324.
(5) Local Government Efficiency Grant means a grant provided under the Local Government Efficiency Grant Program for one of the following purposes;
(a) Conducting an efficiency assessment to determine the need for and desirability of consolidating local government units or local government service delivery programs (including privatization of such programs) or both;
(b) Planning for the consolidation of local government units or local government service delivery programs (including privatization of such programs) or both, when it has been determined that such consolidation is needed and desirable;
(c) Implementing the consolidation of local government units or local government service delivery programs (including privatization of such programs) or both, where it has been determined that such consolidation is needed and desirable and a plan has been developed for carrying out the consolidation, or furthering the efficiency and effectiveness of a single consolidated local government's service delivery programs; or Authority O.C.G.A. Sec. 36-86-4 and Sec. 50-8-8.
(d) Assisting the Georgia Future Communities Commission with its study of governing structures, growth and development patterns, service delivery, and the distribution of the benefits and burdens associated with growth and economic prosperity; and with its development of recommended solutions and an implementation plan.
(6) Local Government Unit means each county in the state, each municipality in the state, each consolidated government in the state, and each local authority in the state that operates any local government service delivery program but does not include local school systems.
(7) Service or Local Government Service means any and all services provided by a local government unit.

Rule 110-5-1-.03 Grant Availability

Effective September 1, 1995, the Department will accept and review grant applications on a year-round basis. The Department will notify potential applicants of funding availability at least twice during the fiscal year.

Rule 110-5-1-.04 Eligible Applicants

(1) Eligible applicants for Local Government Efficiency Grants are two or more local government units, a consolidated government unit, and the Georgia Future Communities Commission. At the time of award all local government units party to an application must be in compliance, where applicable, with Departmental requirements regarding comprehensive planning, solid waste management planning, and local government financial reporting. In addition, all parties must be in compliance with audit filing requirements as specified in O.C.G.A. Section 36-81-7 and local government authorities registration requirements as specified in O.C.G.A. Section 36-80-16. One of the local government units must be designated as the lead applicant, responsible for administering the grant if such grant is awarded.
(2) Applicants for consolidation planning grants must also have completed an efficiency assessment that either complies with Rule 110-5-10 or is deemed equivalent by the Department.
(3) Eligible applicants may apply for a grant to conduct efficiency assessment and consolidation planning activities simultaneously. Applicants will be required to demonstrate why assessment and planning activities should be conducted simultaneously rather than sequentially.
(4) Applicants for consolidation implementation grants must have completed an efficiency assessment that either complies with Rule 110-5-10 or is deemed equivalent by the Department. The applicant must also have developed a consolidation plan that either complies with Rule 110-5-11 or is deemed equivalent by the Department.
(5) Applicants seeking to consolidate local government units must pass a consolidation referendum and receive Justice Department approval, where required, prior to applying for a consolidation implementation grant.
(6) Applicants must apply for a Local Government Efficiency Grant in a format and manner prescribed by the Department. Grant applications may be received by writing to the Department of Community Affairs at the following address:

Department of Community Affairs

ATTN: Local Government Efficiency Grant Program

60 Executive Park South, NE

Room 382

Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2231

Rule 110-5-1-.05 Eligible and Ineligible Projects

(1) Eligible projects include projects that assess, plan for or implement the consolidation of local government units or local government service delivery programs; projects that further the efficiency and/or effectiveness of a single consolidated government's service delivery programs; and the work of the Future Communities Commission in carrying out its purpose of examining governmental, social and economic issues confronting local governments, assessing the future implications of continuing negative trends, determining changes needed in local government structure to provide for quality of life and economic prosperity, and developing specific proposals for ensuring economic prosperity. Consolidation of local government units includes county-county consolidation; city-county consolidation; city-city consolidation; city-local authority consolidation; local authority-local authority consolidation; and any other combination of local government units as defined in the Act and these rules. Consolidation of local government service delivery programs could include consolidation of services such as police, fire, water and sewer, recreation, code enforcement, etc., or consolidation of separate functions within an existing consolidated government unit.
(2) Ineligible projects include joint projects that do not result in the permanent consolidation of services or units. Intergovernmental agreements are not eligible unless the agreement involves the permanent consolidation of two or more service programs or consolidation of local government units. The construction or renovation of shared facilities by two or more local government units where no programs or units are consolidated is not an eligible project. In addition, the joint purchase of equipment is not an eligible project unless it is part of a consolidation of programs or units.

Rule 110-5-1-.06 Eligible and Ineligible Costs

(1) Eligible costs include costs to acquire professional services or fund in-house staff to conduct an efficiency assessment; costs normally associated with developing a consolidation plan or conducting other essential consolidation planning activities; and costs normally associated with one-time expenses related to consolidating services or local government units, including expenses for personnel, supplies, equipment and limited construction costs. Eligible costs also include meeting expenses, research expenses, and other costs incurred by the Future Communities Commission in carrying out its study efforts.
(2) Ineligible costs include general operating costs to provide services, including administrative or overhead expenses, and anything that would violate the gratuities clause of the State Constitution.

Rule 110-5-1-.07 Grant Award Amounts and Matching Requirements

The maximum award for all Local Government Efficiency Grants will be set annually by the Board upon recommendation by the Commissioner. Maximum award amounts in any given fiscal year may be waived by the Commissioner with the concurrence of the Board. Eligible applicants receiving a grant award will be required to provide a match of no less than 25% of the grant amount. This matching requirement may be met through cash or in-kind contribution. In-kind means non-cash items such as labor, materials, supplies or services applied directly to the project. The match must be available for expenditure at the time of the grant award. Funds expended prior to the date of the grant award cannot be counted as match. State funds cannot be used as match. Each party to an application must demonstrate how it will contribute to the required local match.

Rule 110-5-1-.08 Review of Grant Applications

Eligible applications will be reviewed by a grant review team to determine the merit of the application and whether such applicant will receive grant funds. In determining whether an applicant will receive a grant award, the grant review team will consider the following factors:

(1) Efficiency Assessment:
(a) The need for the potential consolidation being assessed;
(b) The number and type of services being assessed for potential consolidation;
(c) The types of local government units being assessed for potential consolidation;
(d) The feasibility of the potential consolidation being assessed; and
(e) Other factors submitted by the applicant and deemed relevant by the Department.
(2) Consolidation Plan:
(a) The need for the planned consolidation;
(b) Potential cost-savings, increase in quality, or improvement in the equity of service delivery that could be realized by consolidation as determined by the efficiency assessment;
(c) The number of people, as a percentage of population, affected by the planned consolidation as determined by the efficiency assessment;
(d) The time frame anticipated for completing the consolidation plan or other appropriate planning activities; and
(e) Other factors submitted by the applicant and deemed relevant by the Department.
(3) Consolidation Implementation:
(a) The need for the consolidation to be implemented;
(b) Potential cost-savings, increase in quality, or improvement in the equity of service delivery that could be realized by consolidation as determined by the efficiency assessment;
(c) The number of people, as a percentage of population, affected by the planned consolidation as determined by the efficiency assessment;
(d) Whether implementation costs, as determined by the consolidation plan, appear reasonable; and
(e) Other factors submitted by the applicant and deemed relevant by the Department.
(4) Future Communities Commission:
(a) The relevance of the proposed use of grant funds to the Commission's purpose of examining governmental, social and economic issues confronting local governments, assessing the future implications of continuing negative trends, determining changes needed in local government structure to provide for quality of life and economic prosperity, and developing specific proposals for ensuring economic prosperity; and
(b) Other factors submitted by the applicant and deemed relevant by the Department.

Rule 110-5-1-.09 Awarding of Grant Funds

(1) Within 30 days of the receipt of a grant application, the Department will notify the applicant as to whether the grant has been awarded.
(2) Upon selection by the Department to receive a Local Government Efficiency Grant, successful applicants will enter into a contract with the Department specifying the terms and conditions for the receipt of grant funds. At the time such contract is signed by the applicant and the Department, the Department will disburse grant funds to the applicant based on a predetermined payment schedule. Final payment of grant funds will not be made until the applicant fully satisfies the terms of the contract. Applicants will have 45 days from the date of award to accept the contract offer, including any special conditions and/or reduced grant amount. If the applicant fails to accept the contract offer by executing and returning the grant agreement by the end of the 45-day period, the grant award may be withdrawn by the Department.
(3) The Department may approve a grant subject to certain special conditions, which will be incorporated into the grant award contract. Because of the limited amount of funds available, the Department may also award an amount less than the amount requested in the application.

Rule 110-5-1-.10 Content of Efficiency Assessments

Efficiency assessments conducted to determine the need for or desirability of consolidating local government services or local government units must consider the following for each service or government unit being assessed:

(1) The service delivery area and the number and percentage of people served;
(2) The current level of program activity, including productivity and efficiency measures;
(3) The total cost and cost per unit to provide the current level of services; and
(4) Any efficiencies, cost-savings, increase in service quality, or improvement in the equity of service delivery, projected over at least a five-year period, that could be realized by consolidation.

Rule 110-5-1-.11 Content of Consolidation Plans

Consolidation Planning grant funds may be used to develop a consolidation plan or fund other appropriate planning activities that must be completed before implementing a consolidation of services or local government units. Consolidation plans developed with Local Government Efficiency Grant funds must address the following:

(1) How the consolidation plan integrates with the comprehensive plan of each affected local government unit, if such units are subject to comprehensive planning requirements;
(2) Staffing needs generated by the planned consolidation, including the disposition of current staff and the need for reducing or increasing the current staffing level;
(3) Equipment needs generated by the planned consolidation, including the disposition of current equipment and the need for additional equipment;
(4) Facility needs generated by the planned consolidation, including the disposition of current facilities and the need for renovation or purchase of additional facilities;
(5) Timetable for completion of major tasks necessary to implement the consolidation of services or local government units; and
(6) Breakdown of budgeted costs to implement the consolidation, including, but not limited to, capital improvements, equipment purchases and personnel costs.

Rule 110-5-1-.12 Close-out and Reporting Requirements

Recipients of Efficiency Assessment and Consolidation Planning grants will be required to submit information as specified in a contract with the Department before receiving final payment of grant monies. Recipients of Consolidation Implementation grants will be required to report information to the Department on consolidation efforts and results, as requested by the Department. The Future Communities Commission will be required to Submit its final report and implementation plan and any legislation resulting from its recommendations.