LAWRENCEVILLE -- It took two days for 16 councils and commissions to hold special meetings and vote to settle Gwinnett's long-awaited service delivery settlement.
It took an hour or so for mayors and clerks to sign the stacks of documents.
It took a day for a judge to sign off on the deal, which ended a three-year-long court battle.
But overcoming the final hurdle, which could free the governments from sanctions that include the loss of radar guns to enforce speeding on Gwinnett roads, has taken more than two weeks. And the end is not in sight.
"Nothing about this one fits the norm," Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said of the long wait to file paperwork with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. "It's just symbolic of the whole situation."
Within days of the settlement, officials filed paper copies of the legal documents, which outline new service districts for fire and police, giving breaks on county taxes to people who live in cities that perform those services.
But Nash said the DCA now asks for electronic filing of information into a service database. Some of the entries are limited to 80 characters -- a little more than half the size of a tweet.
"They never envisioned something as complicated as our (agreement)," Nash said, adding that staffers have been drafting and redrafting the filing, which has to be approved by county officials and mayors from all 15 cities.
The information also must include services that were not in dispute in the lawsuit, such as water and sewer maps.
"It's a pretty good-sized package, when you put it all together," Nash said. "We have no reason to drag it out. We are working as fast as we can on it."
Angie Holt, the director of special investigations for the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said all of the local police agencies have submitted the paperwork to receive a speed enforcement permit.
In fact, in Snellville, where the permit doesn't expire until 2013, cops have already begun using the equipment to clock speeders, after an application to add a road to the enforcement zone halted it.
While Auburn and Braselton also had permits that did not expire and Loganville police has continued to use the equipment in its Walton jurisdiction, the others quickly gathered the required paperwork. That includes a letter from the governing authority, a copy of the FCC radio license, a copy of the most current annual certificate of calibration on each device and documents that show certification for every officer set to use the device, Holt said the final documents were submitted more than a week ago.
Yet, she still has to wait until the Department of Community Affairs document is in and the department renews the local qualified government status of each jurisdiction, lifting the court-imposed sanctions.
"As soon, as I receive word from DCA that they receive the documentation ... we'll issue the permits the same day," she said, adding that the police departments don't need the permit in hand, just confirmation that it is in the mail, to begin using the devices.
"I have pledged to notify each one of them their permit is in the mail," she said. "It will start when DCA notifies me the governments in Gwinnett County are compliant, whether it be tomorrow or whether it be March 1 or after. ... Our department wants to facilitate issuing the permits as soon as legally possible."