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Mediation of Service Delivery Conflicts

Program Description | Downloads & Related Links | Contact Information

Program Description

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution in which the conflicting parties request intervention into a dispute by a neutral third party, called a mediator, who is acceptable to all participants. The mediator's job is not to impose a solution, but to help the disputing parties engage in constructive negotiations so that they can agree on a solution.

The goal of mediation is a "memorandum of agreement" signed by all parties. This is a written document specifying what will be done by each party to implement the solution to the dispute.

Mediation and the Service Delivery Strategy

The intent of House Bill 489, the Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) Act, (O.C.G.A. Title 36, Chapter 70- Coordinated and Comprehensive Planning and Service Delivery by Counties and Municipalities) is that local governments take a careful look at the services they provide in order to identify overlap or gaps in service provision and develop a more rational approach to allocating delivery and funding of these services among the various local governments and authorities in each county. Article 1 describes the legislative intent of the law, defines and encourages coordinated planning. Article 2, Service Delivery, Sections 36-70-20 through 28, discusses the specifics of Service Delivery requirements and criteria. 36-70-20 states that: “The process provided by this article is intended to minimize inefficiencies resulting from duplication of services and competition between local governments and to provide a mechanism to resolve disputes over local government service delivery, funding equity, and land use."

The rest of the Act contains numerous references to alternate dispute resolution as a mechanism to resolve disputes. 36-70-24-(2) (B) requires that prior to court challenges, water and sewer rate differential disputes “shall be submitted for some form of alternate dispute resolution.”  36-70-25.1 provides dispute resolution procedures which must be followed if a county and its affected municipalities annot reach agreement on a service delivery strategy. 36-70-25.1(c) requires that “a means of facilitating agreement through some form of alternative dispute resolution shall be employed”. 36-70-25.1(d) (1) (A), specifies that mandatory mediation is available upon request if the parties to the dispute fail to reach an agreement.

This entire process is a function of the state judicial system.  Neither the Department of Community Affairs nor the Regional Commissions are formally involved in the process of mediating SDS conflicts.  Any questions regarding the process should directed to an attorney. 

Downloads & Related Links

Service Delivery Strategies


Service Delivery Strategy Act

Charting a Course for Cooperation and Collaboration (PDF)

SDS Forms


Contact Information

Georgia Department of Community Affairs
60 Executive Park South, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2231

For more information about Planning and Quality Growth, please contact the Office of Planning and Quality Growth at 404-679-5279.