- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
The Other Georgia Amendment
Most Georgians know that an amendment relating to charter schools will be on their ballot on November. But few know that there is a second amendment up for consideration that, if approved, could save the state millions of dollars by allowing multiyear lease agreements.
The Like the Dew community is divided on this amendment and we would prefer not to run this piece unless we can pair it with one that presents the arguments against the amendment.
The article tells us only this: “Though he acknowledged that multiyear leases could be abused, Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said there is a definite argument to be made for the amendment.” Don’t our readers deserve to hear about those potential abuses that are given such short shrift here? Considering all the cronyism and the absence of ethics governing Georgia politicians, don’t our readers deserve to read an argument against allowing the current crop of Georgia politicians whom may well lock us into leases for as many as 20 years? We invite your arguments.
Over the next ten years, the amendment would save the state $66 million, according to Paul Melvin, who is the director of communications for Georgia’s State Properties Commission.
State agencies such as the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Division of Child Support Services, or the Georgia Environmental Protection Division could get better rates on long-term leases for offices around the state.
Property owners leasing to these agencies would also be more willing to make improvements to leased properties, according to state Sen. Buddy Carter, who sponsored the resolution proposing the amendment.
Nothing in Georgia’s Constitution specifically addresses multiyear leases, according to Melvin. They’re effectively forbidden, however, by the requirement that an existing legislature not put debt on a future legislature.
Other states already lease property for more than a year. “We surveyed 19 states and out of those 19 states, 18 out of 19 states used a multiyear lease,” Melvin said.
If adopted, the amendment would allow state agencies that fall under the State Properties Commission, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Labor to sign longer leases. Leases by cities and counties would not be affected.
Leasing requirements would change for the University of Georgia. Currently, UGA uses their foundation to lease teaching space for the Terry College of Business in Atlanta and for UGA’s Gwinnett campus. Then, UGA leases the space from the foundation one year at a time.
“We would be able to cut that middle man out,” said James Dorsey, UGA’s director of the Office of Real Estate and Space Management.
The resolution was adopted with a unanimous vote in the Georgia Senate during the 2011 legislative session. State Rep. Jay Neal, who sponsored the resolution in the Georgia House of Representatives, said the resolution was not adopted in the House because time ran out in 2011.
During the 2012 session, the House approved the resolution, along with another bill that placed parameters on multiyear leases. The parameters restrict multiyear leases to 20 years and allow the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission to set a yearly limit on the total value of multiyear leases.
Though he acknowledged that multiyear leases could be abused, Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said there is a definite argument to be made for the amendment.
“If we want the state to run more like a business, if we want them to be efficient, these are the kinds of tools the state doesn’t have that they need to have,” Essig said.
- Editor's Note: In reviewing this story, some Dewers disagreed with the author's position on this issue
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
This past weekend, my wife Jody and I attended a performance of Cyrano de Bergerac performed at the Blackfriar’s Theater in Staunton, Va. Just to hear the language was well worth the one-hundred forty mile round trip. Although I don’t have the skill to read it in the original French, Anthony Burgess’ translation which combines blank verse, prose, and rhyming couplets held our attention for the nearly three-hour performance. He created a contemporary sound for a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand based on an historical seventeenth-century troubadour, dramatist, poet, soldier, and sword-swinging duelist known for his razor-sharp wit and w Read on →
I recently had the pleasure of roaming about the grounds of the Carter Center in Atlanta. It was an early Sunday morning before any of the buildings were open and I had the place pretty much to myself except for one lady who volunteers there and was fidgeting around in one of the small side gardens. I didn’t tromp over the entire thirty-five acres, but I covered enough to be impressed with the design and the number of large Oaks that provided much needed shade from the bright sunshine and heat. The visit took me back in time to when I w Read on →
Who knew? We've got some snotty residents on St. Simons Island who collect their mail at the Sea Island Post Office so they can pretend they live where they don't. Now they've been discombobulated by the armed guards at the gates and collecting their mail has proved an inconvenience. Not to worry. The Sea Island Acquisitions people will just move the P. O. out of their exclusive enclave and give it a new home on St. Simons while they continue to pretend that the Sea Island Road is as exclusive as that cesspool on the dunes known as Sea Island. Read on →
My high school years unfolded in a time when hanging out at drive-ins and burger joints was all we had. We played 45 RPMs by the Beach Boys and William Jan Berry and Dean Ormsby Torrence. You know them as Jan and Dean of “Dead Man’s Curve” and “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” fame. Surf music was the craze back then in the era of steering wheel suicide knobs, but catching a wave in eastern Georgia wasn’t easy. Cars, though, now that was a different matter. Hot, candy-colored cars possessing names like GTO, Chevelle, Firebird, and Thunderbolt mesmerized us. So there we we Read on →