Service delivery settlement to be considered by Gwinnett County, cities

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Settlement packages will be considered in council meetings throughout Gwinnett Tuesday for a service-delivery dispute that has pitted city vs. county for years.

"We're meeting with our councils to look at the negotiated settlement," said Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, a spokesman for 14 of the 15 local cities embroiled in litigation over the matter.

He declined to discuss the proposed terms, saying they will be made public at various specially-called council meetings.

"We're still in litigation," he said.

County commission officials are also expected to consider the matter at a 2 p.m. work session, although it is not a part of the published agenda.

"The parties will arrive at something they will offer the court to approve," said Randy Meacham of the Gwinnett Municipal Association, the coalition of local cities. "We're trying to bring it all together."

The dispute began when city officials hoped to get lower county property tax rates for their residents, since city residents pay city taxes for a number of services. The matter winded up in court, when officials failed to reach a required service delivery agreement.

While a judge ruled on the matter last year, it has been appealed, and settlement negotiations begin again with the election of Gwinnett Chairwoman Charlotte Nash last year.

Because of the dispute, the county and cities lost their qualified local government status, losing out on state grants, loans and permits, including losing the ability to use radar guns to enforce speeding.

At A Glance

The following City Council meetings have been scheduled for today to consider a proposed settlement to the years-long service delivery dispute with Gwinnett County, where commissioners are likely to consider the settlement in a 2 p.m. business session today. Information was not available Monday evening for the cities of Buford, Loganville and Rest Haven.

Auburn 7 p.m.

Berkeley Lake 6:30 p.m.

Braselton 6:15 p.m.

Dacula 6 p.m.

Grayson 6:15 p.m.

Lawrenceville 6:30 p.m.

Lilburn 6:30 p.m.

Norcross 6:30 p.m.

Snellville 6:30 p.m.

Duluth, 7 p.m.

Sugar Hill 7 p.m.

Suwanee 5 p.m.