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Lilburn Approves SDS Agreement

The agreement ends a years-long dispute between the county and Gwinnett cities.

The Lilburn City Council on Tuesday evening approved by unanimous vote a pending Service Delivery Strategy settlement and agreement with the county.

Earlier Tuesday, the Gwinnett County Board Of Commissioners approved the deal with cities in the Gwinnett Municipal Association, doing their part to end a multi-year, multimillion-dollar dispute.

The proposal establishes new service districts for services including Fire and Emergency Medical Services, planning and development and 911 services. These will go into effect this year.

Under the agreement, Lilburn will receive a one-time payment of $128,765 for planning and development; $413,404 for police, and an undesignated payment of $67,771.

Going forward and starting this year, the city annually will receive $120,636 for police services, and an estimated minimum of the same amount for 911 services; the total is a minimum of $241,272. The agreement is valid for seven years.

"I'm happy to get this behind us," Lilburn City Manager Bill Johnsa told Patch. "It's not just an issue of money, it's the relationships that we all enjoy, and truly looking at tax equity."

A joint city-county ceremony is planned for Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville.

The dispute began when the county sued cities in the GwMA. At issue was whether the cities would pay the county for services they do not use, such as police.

"Countless hours and a lot of hard work have gone into reaching this agreement,” Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said in a release. “The issues involved in funding and operating a major metropolitan county with 15 cities are incredibly complex.

"I would like to thank everyone who had a role in resolving these issues – all of the mayors, council members and city staff, as well as our district commissioners and County staff. Without their commitment to resolving these issues, a settlement could not have been reached.”

The before they and the county submit the consent order to the court for consideration and approval.

The consent order will also ask the court to lift sanctions prohibiting Gwinnett cities and county agencies from receiving state loans, grants and permits -- including

"It's a great county," City Manager Johnsa said. "But it's not great when we're fractured."

(Editor's note: Suwanee Patch Editor Steve Burns, Snellville Patch Editor Joy L. Woodson and others contributed to this article.)

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