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Service dispute heads to court

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett and its 15 cities will square off in court Monday in a long-awaited trial about service delivery and equitable taxes.

The case comes a year and a half after a service delivery agreement between the governments lapsed.

Negotiations over that time have yielded little results, and all 16 governments now face sanctions, including missing out on state grants.

While county officials say the government performs the majority of services for local residents, city officials said their residents should not be taxed for county services that the city government performs, such as police.

Last week, most of the local city councils held special meetings to vote on resolutions outlining what service each city agrees to provide and what services they hope to attain from the county.

"We're trying to get our day in court," said Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, the head of the Gwinnett Municipal Association, which represents all the cities but Lilburn. "It's good that there is going to be at least some legal resolution."

Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson said there was no need for action from the Board of Commissioners.

"Our attorneys are prepared for trial," he said.

The legal proceedings, which will be handled by a Enotah Circuit Judge to avoid conflicts of interest, are scheduled for two weeks, beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.