SDS signing

Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan and Milledgeville City Council, along with the Henry Craig and the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners held a signing ceremony Tuesday evening to sign off on Service Delivery Strategy agreements. Both governing bodies agreed to terms to finalize a new 10-year SDS last week, closing the chapter on nearly three years of negotiations on the SDS terms. 

Several documents related to a new Service Delivery Strategy Agreement between Milledgeville City Council and the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners were officially signed by the top two governing officials during a special ceremony Tuesday night at City Hall.

Participating in the signing was Milledgeville Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan and Commission Chairman Henry R. Craig.

The two signed off on seven documents related to a new 10-year SDS Agreement.

Overseeing the signing of the documents was City Attorney Jimmy Jordan.

The ceremony was held in the city council executive meeting room and lasted less than a half-hour.

After the signing of the documents, the mayor thanked everyone who was vigorously involved in bringing resolution to the SDS dispute.

“We are just so grateful that we came to a decision and can move forward for the city of Milledgeville and Baldwin County and to make things better,” Parham-Copelan said.

Craig shared those sentiments on behalf of the county.

“Having endured the last three years of this work to get resolutions and service delivery just right for the city and county, we spend a lot of time thinking about the past and what happened before,” Craig said. “It’s time to move forward and stop thinking about what happened in the past and talk about what we can do for the citizens.”

Witnessing the signing of the documents and standing nearby was Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Chambers, along with Milledgeville Aldermen Richard “Boo” Mullins and Walter Reynolds and Baldwin County Commissioner John H. Westmoreland. Interim City Manager Hank Griffeth and County Manager Carlos Tobar also attended the ceremony.

City officials came to an official agreement with the county about a new SDS Agreement during a special called meeting last Thursday, while county officials formally agreed to the terms shortly before noon last Friday.

The new agreement between the two local governments follows nearly three years of disagreements between the two sides over a variety of issues, including a new water-sewer service agreement and public library funding. In addition, lawsuits were filed and court-ordered mediation was required before local officials finally came to an overall agreement.

A large sum was also was spent on attorneys that represented each side in the long-standing dispute. Invoices have yet to come in from attorneys involved in the dispute before the legal costs are tallied and a final figure is made public.

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