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State: Hall County, cities ineligible for funding
Service delivery agreement must be revised, approved to reinstate eligibility
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Hall County and its cities will be ineligible for all state funding and permitting until its Service Delivery Strategy agreement is approved by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

DCA placed the county and cities on its “ineligible” list after rejecting their Service Delivery Strategy last week.

For the past 20 years, Georgia’s Service Delivery Act has required that all counties and their municipalities file with the state a plan for the delivery of local government services to minimize duplication and prevent taxpayers from paying to receive the same services from multiple government providers.

Hall County and its cities, with the exception of Lula, signed and submitted the SDS agreement on June 29. However, DCA rejected the document and has requested it be revised.

The Times received from DCA a list of the revisions it is seeking from Hall County and its cities. In some instances, the issues appear as simple as the wrong box being checked, while in other instances clarification is sought.

For example, DCA seeks a revision to a response deemed as “vague” relating to water and sewer services. DCA notes that the answer provided “does not appear to indicate that consistent, countywide policies/procedures/processes are in place to manage the extraterritorial extension of water and sewer services provided by all service providers.”

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller called the matter “much ado about nothing.” Although he’s not seen the revision requests made by DCA, Miller said he’s been told it’s just a matter of making minor tweaks to the document.

“I understand one box was not checked,” Miller said. “It’s a matter of the state wanting to have  every ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed,” Miller said.

Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey said he expects the matter to be resolved quickly. Lackey added that he’s unaware of the state withholding funding from Gainesville.

“I have no reason to believe that DCA will not receive satisfactory clarification to their comments they have requested from our community, resulting in a resolution to this matter by the end of July,” Lackey said.

Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said from information that’s been shared with him, the revisions requested should be remedied quickly.

“It’s minor editorial changes,” Brown said.

As for the state withholding funding, Brown added that Oakwood does not “have any issues.”

Regardless, until DCA receives the revised document and approves it, Hall County and its nine municipalities — including a portion of Braselton and Buford, Clermont, Gillsville and Rest Haven — will not be getting state-issued permits, state funding and state administered federal funding, according to DCA.

Another seven counties and 29 cities appear on the DCA “ineligible” list from among the 159 counties and 535 incorporated municipalities in Georgia.

In a statement, Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said that the county and its cities are not in jeopardy of losing out on any funding.

“We expect these minor clarifications to be submitted shortly, and we fully expect the SDS document to be approved,” Crumley said.