Amendment would allow multiyear leases in Georgia

Georgia voters will decide Tuesday whether the state should change the way agencies lease buildings.

Amendment 2 would allow agencies to enter into multiyear lease agreements, a move government officials say could save Georgia $66 million over 10 years.

Currently agencies can sign only one-year agreements, which prevents them from negotiating better rates under a long-term contract, said Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, who sponsored the legislation to get the amendment on the ballot.

The State Properties Commission, which handles most of the leases for state agencies, estimates about 20 percent of the 1,800 leases it manages would benefit from the change. The Department of Labor and University System of Georgia manage their own leases and have supported the measure.

Still, the change has skeptics. A few lawmakers voted against the amendment’s legislation because they worried about locking Georgia into long-term commitments without knowing what the state’s financial situation will be like. Others questioned whether the change would really save money.

If voters pass the amendment, leases could run up to 20 years and agreements would include a clause explaining it is subject to annual budget appropriations. The amount spent on the leases would not exceed an annual cap set by the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.

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