Judge places deadline on service fight

LAWRENCEVILLE -- City and county leaders have until Feb. 1 to come to an agreement regarding a service delivery strategy or face sanctions.

A Gwinnett County Superior Court judge issued an order Friday indicating sanctions would be imposed should the almost yearlong dispute over service delivery between the county and cities continue. Should that date pass with no resolution, the parties will become ineligible for state-administered financial assistance, grants, loans and permits.

These sanctions were originally suspended by the judge when the parties entered into mediation.

County commissioners and city mayors are scheduled to resume negotiations at 7 p.m. today.

"We're very pleased as a city that this ruling has come down because we've been working on settling this agreement for over a year," Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson said. "I believe this will give us a working timeframe to come to an agreement and we look forward to dealing with the county (tonight)."