Poster Paper: Multi-Jurisdictional Facilities and Revenue Sharing In Georgia Local Governments

Saturday, November 10, 2012 : 12:00 PM
Liberty A & B (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Tyler Reinagel and Justin Stritch, University of Georgia

Local jurisdictions have faced increasing challenges in building and maintaining their public infrastructure, particularly when it comes to parks, recreational facilities, community centers, libraries, and community facilities. Rapid growth in Georgia over the last twelve years has dramatically altered the needs and demands of residents. As a result, local leaders have been forced to evaluate their management techniques of service delivery to ensure the most effective and efficient methods possible. In many instances, this has necessitated intergovernmental relationships and a pooling of available resources for the “greater good” of multiple jurisdictions’ residents. Engaging in these relationships is an almost wholly voluntary undertaking, based largely on the leadership structure and the values held by local leadership.

From a multi-jurisdictional revenue perspective, local governments in Georgia have a funding mechanism that assesses a one percent local option sales tax (LOST), approved by referendum at the county level and, distributed at a negotiated rate between the county and qualified city governments. The distribution is not based on a strict formula but rather is a negotiated rate reported to the Georgia Department of Revenue at a series of trigger points, including the decennial census.

This paper will analyze the relationship between these voluntary regional facility relationships and the forced revenue sharing relationships that exist in each of Georgia’s counties. Because of the voluntary nature of the facility (expenditure) relationship, principles of inter-jurisdictional competition and the Tiebout theory (1956) regarding resident mobility are important considerations. It use data gathered annually by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and LOST revenue sharing data collected by the Georgia Department of Revenue to assess the total amount, proportion, and per capita receipts for local jurisdictions. In addition to these state level data, Census data will be used to consider the demographic and socio-economic relationships between the jurisdictions.

From 1999 to 2011, the participation rate of counties in these voluntary regional facility relationships rose 64 percent.  Likewise, the participation rate of cities rose 54 percent over the same period.  This research will look specifically at measures of revenue sharing (namely per capita receipts from county sales and use tax revenue) as predictors of likelihood to engage in regional/multi-jurisdictional public facility construction and management.  The paper will use a negative binomial regression to determine the effect that LOST revenue sharing has on the likelihood of engagement in regional/jurisdiction facility construction and management.