County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash and representatives of most of the Gwinnett cities met for the first time Wednesday (July 6) with the subject of the long-standing Service Delivery Strategy dispute on the table.
Wednesday’s Gwinnett Municipal Association meeting went into executive session for the talk because the SDS dispute is under litigation.
“It was a very positive talk,” said Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, who has been at the head of negotiations over the dispute, which has left the county and cities unable to renew state contracts since the year began. “There was progress made last night,” Johnson said Thursday.
“Chairman Nash is exhibiting a common sense approach to solving the service delivery conflicts,” said Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris in an email. “Her previous expertise and knowledge is a real plus for Gwinnett cities, and we are all encouraged that Chairman Nash will be successful in working with us to reach a resolution,” she added. Harris is vice president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association.
Currently, the cities and the county are not able to use radar to catch speeders, get new traffic lights or install new sewer lines since these services all rely on state contracts.
Johnson said the cities talked about half the time and the county talked about half the time, which was refreshing. “They were willing not just to talk, but to listen,” he said.
Nash had some thoughts about the dispute based on her experience, according to Johnson, and she wanted to be sure to hear from all of the parties involved.
He said that he expects that more staff work will need to be done before another meeting of the minds takes place. Johnson is immediate past president of the GwMA.
Thirteen of Gwinnett County's cities belong to the GwMA. The City of Lilburn is not a member of the GwMA, so a representative was not present.