• 73°

Troup County passes proposed SDS agreement

Troup County passed a proposed Service Delivery Strategy agreement at its meeting Tuesday night, the first domino to fall in a possible end to a saga that has extended 10 months.

After an extended executive session, the county voted unanimously to accept a proposed SDS agreement and an intergovernmental fire agreement with Hogansville. The city of Hogansville did not pass an agreement at its meeting Monday night, noting that its attorney needed to review the latest proposal. However, on Tuesday, Hogansville called a meeting for Friday at a 11 a.m. to discuss SDS.

For the SDS agreement to pass, the county seat (LaGrange), the county and half the remaining cities (West Point or Hogansville) must agree. LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said Monday that the city was waiting to see if Hogansville and Troup County came to an agreement. LaGrange and Troup County have been in agreement for months, leaving the county and the cities of Hogansville and West Point to work out their differences.

The SDS is required every 10 years in all 159 counties and is meant to ensure delivery of services to citizens in a cost-efficient and effective manner.

The deadline for a SDS agreement is June 30, but it has to be submitted to the Department of Community Affairs, which requires a 30-day review process. An original deadline was set for the fall, but that was moved due to COVID-19. A second deadline was the end of February, but right at the last minute all four entities agreed to a SDS extension through June.

The extension passed in February allowed local governments to avoid sanctions, which would impact state-funded grants, and allowed for more time to negotiate. However, if the deadline comes and goes, sanctions would again be on the table.

“We feel good about the prospects of being able to settle the SDS issues,” Stankiewicz said.

During Monday’s meeting, Stankiewicz said Hogansville proposed some changes to the county and under the new document, all of those changes were reflected.

“We presented those proposed changes to the county, and the county agreed to all of them. We are thankful for that and appreciate that, and we have the basis of an agreement,” Stankiewicz said. “However, the final language came through late this afternoon. It was sent to our attorneys and as one of the council members said, you wouldn’t buy a house without reading the closing documents, and so we are going to give our attorneys the opportunity to review those contracts.”