The City of Guyton is two years behind its state compliance filings for annual budget and audit documents.
Under Georgia law, municipal governments are required to upload an annual budget report to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government each year immediately following the adoption of the budget. Specifically, under Georgia law, municipal governments must publish a plan of financial operation embodying an estimate of proposed expenditures during a budget period and the proposed means of financing such expenditures. This is required for any governing authority of a county or municipality having an annual budget in excess of $1 million.
OCGA 36-80-21 reads as follows:
As soon as a local government has adopted, by ordinance or resolution, a final budget for an upcoming fiscal year, a copy of the budget shall be electronically transmitted in a Portable Document Format (PDF) file to the Vinson Institute and posted on the website by the Vinson Institute as soon as practicable. In no event shall the PDF copy of the budget be transmitted to the Vinson Institute more than 30 calendar days following the adoption of the budget ordinance or resolution.
It similarly requires that cities upload the documents for annual financial audits.
After the close of a fiscal year, a copy of the audit of each local government shall be electronically transmitted in a Portable Document Format (PDF) file to the Vinson Institute and posted on the website by the Vinson Institute as soon as practicable. [In Guyton, each fiscal year ends on June 30.]
The law was enacted by the Georgia General Assembly years ago and was most recently updated in 2015 in an effort to promote transparency in local government. It’s a well established law that’s also promoted by the Georgia Municipal Association, of which Guyton is a dues paying member.
Records show the city has not followed this protocol since the summer of 2020 when it uploaded the documents for FY 2021. Similarly, the city has not updated the annual audit report since 2020.
The lack of uploaded documents cannot be blamed on the Vinson Institute as cities have a portal for which upload their own documents.
Additionally, the city of Guyton is currently working through the budget proposal process for FY 2024 and has not published it on the ‘budget’ tab on its website.