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Troup passes service delivery strategy proposal, negotiations with cities continue

The Troup County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved its Service Delivery Strategy proposal on Tuesday.

The SDS is required by the state of Georgia for all 159 counties and outlines the delivery of government services in a cost-effective manner to citizens. The plan covers topics such as utilities, emergency management services, fire protection and law enforcement, among many others.

Counties are required to submit their SDS document to the state every 10 years. The SDS must be agreed to by the county, the county seat (LaGrange, in this case), and 50 percent of the remaining cities. If Troup County, LaGrange and either Hogansville or West Point agree to a proposal, it can be submitted.

The proposal approved simply expresses the commission’s consensus that they support the proposal, according to Troup Manager Eric Mosley. Chairman Patrick Crews described it as the commission approving the county’s offer. The other cities can still respond by negotiating, passing their own proposal or by accepting the county’s proposal.

The deadline to submit agreements between Troup County and its cities — already extended due to COVID-19 — is Feb. 28. Penalties for missing the deadline can include loss of state permits and the freezing of state funding.

While LaGrange is reportedly satisfied with the county’s proposal, West Point and Hogansville have asked to begin mediation of the agreement, a process that occurs if an agreement cannot be met. The county’s position is that it is too soon to begin mediation because there is still time to hash out an agreement.

Hogansville City Manager Jonathan Lynn read a prepared statement at the city’s Tuesday night city council meeting that he also submitted as a letter to the editor to The LaGrange Daily News.

In the letter, Lynn said the city was not being treated equitably. Hogansville’s main complaint is the cost of fire services the county is charging to the city.

Hogansville and West Point also take issue with the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) formula which allocates sales tax revenues. Currently, the county and LaGrange each receive 45 percent of sales, with Hogansville and West Point receiving five percent each. LOST is divvied up by population in Troup.

Lynn said the county’s “apathetic nature toward the residents in the City of Hogansville will no longer be tolerated.” Lynn also said Hogansville was not a “Mayberry town” and that “we surely know what our worth is in this region and soon, Troup County will know that as well.”

On Tuesday, Mosley said in an emailed statement that there were inaccuracies in the article, “but it is not my practice to air my dirty laundry as the city manager felt the need to do.”

“At some point we will all need to work together and we don’t need to burn any more bridges in the process of these negotiations,” Mosley wrote.

Crews said he was meeting with the mayors of the three cities on Wednesday afternoon, and that he believes they ought to be the ones negotiating as the process continues.