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Gwinnett County, Georgia

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Gwinnett County is one of 159 counties in Georgia. It was created on December 15, 1818. Its county seat is Lawrenceville.

Evaluation of website

Grade2.pngA-
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits
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Contracts
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Lobbying P
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Public records
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Local taxes Y
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Transparency grading process


Main article: Evaluation of Georgia county websites

This website was most recently evaluated March 7, 2013.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 5 years.[1]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 8 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 8 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting videos are available.[2]
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[3]
  • * Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.[4]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[5]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2005 are available.[6]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[7]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[8]
  • * Public records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the Communications Director position. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided by the Communications Director.
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.[9]
  • Campaign disclosure reports of elected officials are available.[10]
  • Lobbying
    • Lobbyist report forms are provided.[11]

The bad

Budget

In 2011, the County Commissioners board faced an $18 million budget deficit. The budget totaling $1.3 billion is comprised of $977.5 million in operating funds and $337.3 million in capital project funds. The operating budget is 3.2 percent less than the 2010 revised budget while the capital budget is 39.1 percent less than the 2010 plan. In total, the County’s 2011 budget is $248 million less than fiscal year 2010, representing an overall 16 percent reduction.

According to the county press release: "The budget includes voluntary departmental reductions of $5.7 million, plus $2.3 million in further service reductions. These reductions include a 15 percent reduction to libraries and a 50 percent reduction in subsidies to external agencies, excluding the Coalition for Health and Human Services, which was funded at its 2010 levels. The only increases are due to state and federal mandates."


Stimulus

Federal stimulus money provided more than $120 million in 2009 for Gwinnett County projects. Major projects include the McGinnis Ferry Road extension, the State Route 324 bridge over I-85, traffic management systems on Buford Highway and Sugarloaf Parkway, a senior services center, the No Business Creek Tunnel, a methane gas-to-energy generator, and a grease receiving facility.[12]

Public Employees

Elected Officials

The Board of Commissioners sets direction and formulates policies for the county government, adopts the budget, authorizes expenditures, and approves or disapproves specific actions, such as rezoning of private property. Each of the four districts are single-member and voters in each choose one district commissioner. The full-time Commission Chairman is elected countywide. Terms are for four years, but staggered so the chairman and two commissioners are elected during one election cycle and two years later the other two commissioners are elected.[13]

District Name Party First Elected Salary
Chairman Charlotte J. Nash Republican Special Election, 2011 unknown
District 1 Commissioner Shirley Lasseter Republican 2008 unknown
District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard Republican 2010 unknown
District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau Republican 2004 unknown
District 4 Commissioner John Heard Republican 2010 unknown

Administrative Officials

District Name Appointed Salary
County Administrator Glenn Stephens September 2009 $253,600[14]
Deputy County Administrator/CFO Aaron J. Bovos December 2010 unknown
County Clerk Diane Kemp unknown unknown
Deputy County Clerk Marie Dickey unknown unknown

Salaries

See also: Georgia state government salary


Pensions

See also: Georgia public pensions


Gwinnett County requires mandatory participation in the County Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Plan. Participation is optional in the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (contribute 2.5% of pay to receive a 1.0% additional County contribution to the DC Pension Plan).

For the County Defined Contribution Plan:

  • Employee Contribution: Employee selects contribution level from three options: 2.5%, 5.0%, or 7.5% of pay
  • County Contribution: County contributes 7.0% of pay to the DC Pension Plan

The county's retirement plans are administered by the Retirement Plans Management Committee (the "RPMC"). The purpose of the RPMC is to manage and invest the assets of the (1) defined benefit plan; (2) defined contribution plan; (3) deferred compensation plan; and (4) the OPEB trust; each in accordance with the provisions of its plan and trust agreement.[15]

Lobbying

See also: Georgia government sector lobbying


Gwinnett County participates in the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). The ACCG engages in lobbying the Georgia state legislature.[16]. The ACCG is a member of the National Association of Counties, a national government sector lobbying organization.

According to OpenSecrets.org, Gwinnett County spent $10,000 on a lobbying contract with McKenna, Long & Aldridge in 2011.[17] OpenSecrets.org reports that Gwinnett County lobbied the federal government on the following issues in 2011: FY11 appropriations of interest to city and county governments including appropriations bills for DOT, Justice, Homeland Security, Energy, Transportation-HUD; potential grant funding for county governments in FY 12 Obama budget proposal.

Transparency & public records

Gwinnett County BOC chairman Charlotte Nash delivered a state of the county address in May 2011, affirming her administration's goal of making the county government more transparent.[18] Chairman Nash included posting business and news on the county's website, continuing to use e-mail to send out news and alerts to subscribers, and seeking additional ways to provide information and getting feedback from the citizens as priorities, in addition to more transparent ethics and land acquisition processes.


Taxes

From "Property Tax Facts" published by the Gwinnett County Commissioner:[19] "The ad valorem tax, more commonly called the property tax, is the primary source of revenue for local governments in Georgia. Ad valorem means “according to value,” and property is taxed based on its assessed value. The millage rate is a determining factor in the calculation of your taxes. A mill is 1/10 of $.01 or $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. Millage rates are set by the authorities of each taxing jurisdiction: the County Board of Commissioners, the County Board of Education, the state and cities. The amount of these taxes is based on the assessed value of the property multiplied by the millage rate. The Tax Commissioner’s Office is the billing and collection entity for the County and plays no part in determining the amounts of any taxes or fees."

External links

References