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Local priorities for 2015 General Assemby taking shape
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The Georgia Municipal Association, a lobbying group for the interests of Georgia cities, laid out several priorities for the 2015 session of the state General Assembly during a meeting Monday night in Buford with local government officials.

Tom Gehl, director of governmental relations for the GMA, said legislation is likely to be introduced that will provide more accountability to how the state collects and distributes tax revenue.

Gehl said there have been instances where special purpose local option sales tax revenue has been misdirected to the wrong counties.

He also said legislation would be introduced to require banks to file deeds on property they own in a more timely manner.

Gehl said there is sometimes difficulty in knowing what out-of-state investors own certain properties because they only file a deed shortly before selling the properties.

He said the legislation would include escalating fines for delayed notice of deeds.

Other areas of interest for cities in the upcoming legislative session may include how to fund local transportation projects, as well as costs associated with the Department of Transportation acquiring land where billboards are located.

State Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gainesville, attended the meeting and said he hoped to get a sense of the legislative priorities of most concern for cities in Hall County.

“My goal is to leave here ... with some type of homework,” he said.

Dunahoo added that while he supports smaller government, he understands cities have important transportation, revenue and other needs that must be addressed by the General Assembly.