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Payments allocated to cities for service delivery settlement

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett's cities will soon bolster their coffers with cash from the county, as a deadline for a pay out in the service delivery dispute agreement nears.

Officials recently turned over to the county government information dividing the more than $30 million between 15 cities. The allocations include one-time payments for several services, which city officials agreed to wait a year to divide into new districts, which will give city residents a break on county taxes. Cities with police forces will receive payments for seven years, according to the settlement reached in February after three years in court.

"It's money that we were expecting to get because of the double taxation," said Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris, the current chairwoman of the Gwinnett Municipal Association, a coalition of the city governments. "It's a negotiated agreement that we all agreed on."

While numbers were negotiated separately with the city of Lilburn, Harris said the amount allocated to the remaining 14 cities was based on population.

Gwinnett Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said at the time of the agreement that the payments were agreed upon so the county could have more time to implement the new service districts."My major focus now related to the SDS settlement is ensuring we meet the requirements and time schedule contained in the consent order and the associated intergovernmental agreements," she said this week. "We made the hard decisions during the settlement negotiations. We agreed to make certain payments because we had to do so in order to obtain agreement from the cities to settle the lawsuit. Before agreeing to the payments, we determined the availability of funds to cover the payments. Making the payments now is simply doing what we said we would do. ...

"The distribution of the payments was addressed in the consent order, too. For all cities other than Lilburn, the cities themselves were granted the right to determine how to distribute the payments among themselves. We at the county are not second-guessing the cities' allocation decisions; we will just make sure that everything is in line with the consent order.

Harris said the money will help the cities with some projects that may have been delayed due to the economy.

While each city council will make its own decision on how to spend it, she said officials in Duluth are now integrating its portion into its budget process.

"We're looking at our wish list of things we've been wanting to accomplish," Harris said, adding that a portion of the money will go toward paying of the city's legal fees for the service delivery issue. Other possibilities include the replacement of weather sirens, paving a parking lot at Bunten Road Park and needed equipment for the public works department, including a mower and a bobcat.

"We can certainly put the money to good use," she said.

Comments

kevin 2 years ago

I hope that once Gwinnett settles this issue that they stop patrolling those cities with Gwinnett police force. They want their own departments in those cities, let them live or die with their own. Gwinnett should not provide any of those services any longer or we will have to demand justice before Ms Nash & the BOC.

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LoganvilleResident 2 years ago

Yet we will send more than $100,000 dollars worth of equipment and personnel (aka GCPD SWAT) to another city (Sandy Springs) in another county for free. It makes a lot of sense to me.

The county/city is not a one-way street. I can assure you that the city police departments do more for the county than you can imagine... or ever hear about and they don't send them a bill.

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ACE 2 years ago

Reference the last comment, its called Mutual-Aid. One day Sandy Springs/North Metro SWAT will return the favor. There are no lines when it comes to the life of an innocent person. Take pride in the matter that another jurisdiction would call your SWAT Team to help because there are one of the best equipped and trained SWAT Teams in the southeast.

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LoganvilleResident 2 years ago

You obviously missed my point there ACE. The city police departments within Gwinnett have always provided a ton of mutual aid assistance to GCPD. Prior to the 1990s, a city police unit answered almost every serious police call in Gwinnett alongside GCPD because GCPD was understaffed and unable to provide adequate backup. While that level of assistance isn't still required today, the city police departments ROUTINELY back up county units on calls near the city.

Even with this level of assistance, not once has a city police department that I know of EVER sent GCPD a bill for their services. They gladly provided, and continue to provide, mutual aid and would never leave a GCPD unit in distress.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Gwinnett County. They have been told under no circumstances are they to assist or help a city unit without the approval of a supervisor. Unfortunately, this isn't because of GCPD. It is because of the county commission. They got upset at the cities because the cities RIGHTFULLY refused to pay for GCPD when they fund their own police departments. The county commission has decided because of this, they aren't going to play nicely in the sandbox and offer any mutual aid to the Gwinnett Cities because they don't "pay" for it.

However, as I pointed out, we'll send an entire SWAT team, equipment, and support personnel to another county at no charge. Why does that make any sense?

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years ago

@LoganvilleResident You hit that nail right on the head! I've worked in Gwinnett for 31 years and can attest to the fact that GCPD looks down their noses at municipal agencies, while they possess nothing more than any other officer that would set them apart?! I guess you could say it's sort of, "occupational bigotry"? The municipal agencies will continue to look after fellow officers, city, county, state, whatever...because they are concerned for officer safety rather than territorial fascination.

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rextim 2 years ago

Just so you are aware, GCPD units are always backing up city units on calls and traffic stops. Just because the SDS agreement says we can't doesn't mean we don't. Mutual aid is not a one way street between the county and cities.

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HonestIngine 2 years ago

I have said all along, The County's Government and the Local City's Government need to combine the goods and services. We do not need seperate city police departments, If they were all one, then there would be no question. In addition, the taxpayers, would save money on their property taxes since they would not have to fund two seperate governments.(city and county). Each city would have a representative, that sits on the County Commission(mayor) and that way each would have representation for their respective cities. We need to change the form of government in Gwinnett County. It has been like this for over 100 years and it is a new era with over 800k residents.. ..

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R 2 years ago

You can combine them but it wont save any money, Just check out NY and its Mayor Bloomberg. Nuff said.

Now if you want to combine services, lets put the police back under the county sherriff and clear out the turf wars.

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kevin 2 years ago

Gwinnett needs to live withoin its means, period. If our BOC makes us feel the pain by cutting things they should not be cutting to balance the budget, then we cut them in the next election. Wake up people. We are paying them all and everything they vote on doing. IF they keep giving such huge tax breaks to get these new foreign companies to invest here, we are going to pay through the nose again and again. Every wonder why the BOC has too go spend all that money to go to China to drum up more companies? It costs them nothing to try to drum up companies locally. Doesn't that smell a little strange to anybody?

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