Time running out for SDS agreement

Published 6:09 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

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Time is running out for LaGrange, Troup County, West Point and Hogansville to finalize a Service Delivery Strategy by the deadline, which is the end of February.

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. It’s complicated and it’s a huge file, but in layman’s terms it’s essentially a document that lays out who is doing what and why.

At this point, Troup County, LaGrange and Hogansville appear in agreement, with West Point being the last city who has not yet approved it.

However, Hogansville has decided not to sign off on the agreement until West Point is in agreement.

The smaller cities have admitted that they decided to work together for the betterment of both, and Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said that he believes his city got a better deal because of it.

Rather than seeing its fire services cost increase, Hogansville actually ended up seeing those costs reduced.

So, now Hogansville is hoping to return the favor by helping West Point.   

And under the state law, either West Point or Hogansville have to agree (along with the county seat, LaGrange, and the county), so currently we’re at a standstill.

West Point has already asked for mediation, which is the solution if no deal is reached by Feb. 28.

However, the lack of a deal would disrupt state funding, which could bring a halt to some needed services around the county.

Those include court services, Troup Transit, the Active Life centers and grants for transportation, natural resources and economic development.

This is a big deal.

At this point, this really comes down to West Point and Troup County, who are at a standstill when it comes to hashing out a deal. 

We don’t have a foot in the door in these negotiations and neither do citizens of Troup County, so we’ve done our best to bring you updated information from all four entities involved.

All four understandably have their own citizens in mind — and budgets to consider — when hashing out issues with the agreement, but time is running out.

It’s time to figure this out.

We hope that this final week leads to even more urgency as the clock winds down. In a lot of cases, negotiations make more progress right before the horn sounds.

But in this particular instance, it feels like we’re helplessly watching someone try to hit a game winning shot in the final seconds of a close game.

Sure, it could go in, but at this moment, we have little reason to be optimistic that a deal is coming next week.

After all, all sides have been negotiating for over six months now.

Maybe something will change at the last minute. In the interest of all citizens in Troup County, we hope it does.