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Dacula to Partnership Gwinnett: 'Not so fast'

DACULA -- City officials voted to delay a $4,500 payment to Partnership Gwinnett on Thursday, taking a "wait and see" stance and sending a clear message.

Partnership Gwinnett is a alliance of Gwinnett businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and community leaders with one goal in mind: to bring corporations and their jobs to Gwinnett County.

"I find it difficult to spend taxpayers' money on this when we're not going to have water and sewer out here," said Councilman Tim Montgomery, referring to Gwinnett County's land-use plan, which designates Dacula as a rural/executive estate area. Because of that designation, the county is limiting water and sewer service to the area.

Dacula's leaders have other ideas, seeing the Ga. Highway 316 corridor as a prime technology/industry area, they said. Their ideas for the future are directly opposed to Gwinnett County's, and City Council members want to see cooperation from the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners and Chamber of Commerce.

Councilman Greg Reeves suggested that the city pay half of the participation installment, or $2,250, as a show of good faith.

"I want to see the Chamber fighting for Dacula's vacant commercial properties," Reeves said. Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks agreed, saying that not paying any of the fee sends the wrong message.

The vote to withhold the $4,500 payment passed 3-1, with Reeves casting the only vote against the measure.

City to pay more legal fees for litigation

City leaders approved a payment of $9,272 for litigation concerning the service delivery dispute between Gwinnett County and county municipalities.

"We're in for a pound; we need to be in for a dollar," said Wilbanks of the lengthy dispute and the cities' efforts to fight the lawsuit.

Wilbanks said Thursday that the trial, currently in process, may end early next week.

Dacula opposes airport expansion

Wilbanks said Thursday that, although the cities of Lawrenceville and Dacula are opposed to the expansion and privatization of Briscoe Field, the Board of Commissioners actually controls the property and its future. Council members adopted a resolution that clearly states the city's stance on the matter.

"I'm not sure if a resolution matters," said Wilbanks, "but we want to make it known that we oppose expansion and privatization if it negatively impacts our quality of life."