After mediation and subsequent negotiations broke down last month due to Villa Rica’s refusal to sign on to the county’s offer, the county sent the agreement again to the municipalities with direction to sign. Carrollton had already agreed to the offer and Temple did so Monday, but Villa Rica is still not pleased with the 7.57 percent — its percentage of the overall county population — and believes it should receive more due to the sales tax generated in the city by commercial businesses and other factors.
City Manager Larry Wood recommended the council approve the agreement Tuesday night because he believes there is no more room for negotiations. However, Mayor J. Collins voiced his displeasure with the offer, which was followed by a nearly 30-minute executive session and no further action was taken when the council returned.
“Why would we want to approve this?” Collins said. “I would plead with the council to please not accept this agreement.”
City Attorney David Mecklin explained the history and timeline of the negotiations, including receipt of the county’s latest agreement offer last week. He pointed out that in addition to what the county refers to as the “master agreement” that includes the LOST disbursement, the city requested — and was provided — with intergovernmental agreements the county submitted to cities other than Villa Rica that would provide supplemental funding above the master agreement from the county’s LOST percentage.
Mecklin said the city’s options at this point would be to sign off on the master agreement that would result in the city receiving the 7.57 percent for the next 10 years or do nothing and still receiving 7.57 percent as what is considered an “absentee municipality” that refuses to sign the agreement.
Mecklin added that he believes the city possibly has legal avenues in which to challenge the supplemental agreements the county is entering into with other local municipalities.
“It is my belief that the agreements that have been tendered probably have some significant legal problems with them and it’s something that we should talk about,” Mecklin said. “I don’t think full consideration was given to whether or not the agreements that were drawn up would stand up and I think that’s something we need to look at before we sign off on the intergovernmental agreement that has been tendered to us.”
Though the service delivery agreement and the LOST agreement are separate issues, Villa Rica officials believe they should be connected and refused to sign the service delivery agreement as well because it was pointed out that there were no negotiations on service delivery before the agreement was tendered.
“Essentially, there has been no discussion whatsoever of service delivery within the county,” Mecklin said. “We were tendered an agreement with no discussion about it.”