Week 3

The Snow Begins at the Capitol
What promised to be an active week at the Capitol was quickly stifled when “SnowPocalypse2014” changed the direction the week would ultimately take.
The Legislature has adopted an Adjournment Resolution that has the General Assembly in Session Days Monday – Friday next week, Feb 3rd – 7th; Monday – Thursday week of Feb 10th – 13th; Off Friday Feb 14th & Monday Feb 17th and in Session Tuesday Feb 18th, which leaves the General Assembly at Day 24 of the traditional 40 on Feb 18th.  The closing of the Capitol due to the storm did not affect the current Resolution calendar.
One piece of legislation the Council testified on in a Study Committee this fall, Senate Bill 255, the “Partnership for Public Facilities and Infrastructure Act” sponsored by Senator Hunter Hill, is sure to gain traction this Session as Georgia continues to look at innovative methods to leverage private experience into a public benefit.
The Study Committee, created by Senate Resolution 598, was tasked with exploring the option of authorizing public-private partnerships in vertical construction,  as a tool that can be employed by the government to meet public needs at the local, county, and state level.
Council President & CEO Michael Paris testified last August at the first hearing of the Study Committee and advocated for public-private partnerships by listing four key advantages to this development option:

  • Innovative financing options that private sector involvement presents;
  • Fewer costs for the public sector;
  • Faster results; and
  • Minimized risk due to the partnership between the government and the private sector.

He maintained that in this time of constrained resources, it is in our best interest to ensure that we do not constrain the options available to meet the needs facing state and local governments.

Public-Private Partnerships are already legal in Georgia and are already used as a tool by some state and local governments.  Private sector experts can propose – at their own cost – different ways of building and operating public buildings, technology systems and other needed improvements. The government lays out the goals and the private sector determines the best way to achieve them. This legislation will not replace any existing construction methods, but only adds another tool to be used when needed and appropriate.

The bill establishes a public entity to oversee and either approve or deny proposals from the private sector related to vertical construction wit solicited or unsolicited proposal overseen by a public committee.  A private entity can only submit a proposal to develop a project if it has been identified by the public entity (local or state government) as a “qualified project.”

Study Committee Report, produced by the Senate Research Office after  a series of meetings held last fall (created by Senate Resolution 598),  found that no standard framework existed for the state and local governments to use P3’s and Georgia does not have the resources to develop the vast infrastructure needs or government facilities that are desperately needed.  The Committees recommendation was passage of Senate Bill 255 during the 2014 Session.
The Council for Quality Growth believes this and other tools, such as Senator Brandon Beach’s Senate Resolution 735, are innovative approaches to begin improving service delivery and leveraging the public’s tax dollars for maximum benefit.