Lowndes Co. service delivery negotiations continue years later

Service delivery negotiations continue

LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - Valdosta and Lowndes County leaders are working to ensure that taxpayers are not paying double for service in Lowndes County and the cities within the county.

City council members and county commissioners met to discuss the Service Delivery Strategy Agreement, after being unable to come to an agreement over the past two years.

“We’ve got to get to an agreement that everybody can live with," said Lowndes County Commissioner Clay Griner.

In Lowndes County, county commissioners and the councilmen from the cities of Valdosta, Lake Park, Remerton, Hahira and Dasher will be meeting to discussing the Service Delivery Strategy Agreement.

“We started this almost three years ago in April of 2016 and there’s been some new city councilmen that have been elected. We just want to make sure everybody’s on the same page, everybody understands where we are, what the process is and where we’ve got to get to," said Griner.

But officials said they’ve been at stand still, hoping that the lawyers can work this agreement out, an agreement on countywide service delivery, city and county tax collection and distribution and intergovernmental coordination.

“What do the municipalities want? What does the county need out of this agreement? How do we get there from where we are?" asked Griner.

In the past, a big point of contention was water and sewage discussions, but on Monday night, officials weren’t focused on specifics.

“I want to get to an agreement. We’ve spent way too much time and money on this issue and need to figure out a solution to it and move forward. Like I said, it needs to be a situation where all the municipalities can live with, the county can live with, it may not be everything we want but it’s something we can all live with," said Griner.

“We may not come away with that tonight, but we may be a step closer to that tonight," said Valdosta City Councilmen Tim Carroll.

Both leaders said that they are open-minded to Monday’s meeting and trying something new.

“I think it’s the first time that all the city council members throughout the five cities, plus the county commissioners have ever sat down and talked about issues pertaining to our community," said Carroll.

Carroll even joked that he has a theory on why things might work out different this time.

"There won’t be any attorneys in the room,” said Carroll.

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