City of Waycross v. Pierce Cty. Bd. of Commr'sAnnotate this Case
The City of Waycross (the “City”), situated primarily in Ware County, annexed property in Pierce County (the “County”) in the 1980's. The City constructed a component of its wastewater treatment facility in the annexed area, and entered into service delivery strategy agreements with the County in 1999. The agreements provided that the City would provide water and sewer services in the annexed area; they did not contain an expiration date. The City provided the agreed upon services and collected fees from the users of the services. The fees covered the costs of providing water and sewer services in the annexed area. Residents of the City did not subsidize the costs of the services. In 2015, the legislature passed House Bill 523, which was signed into law effective July 1, 2015, amending the City’s charter so that no portion of the City would “include any territory within the boundaries of Pierce County.” The City brought suit to enjoin enforcement of House Bill 523 and have it declared unconstitutional. The trial court denied interlocutory relief, partly because it determined the City was still authorized to provide water and sewer services to the formerly annexed area. In July 2015, the City notified businesses and homeowners located in the de-annexed area that new, higher user fees would be charged. The County filed a counterclaim alleging that the new fees were arbitrarily higher than fees charged Ware County residents, and therefore violated the Georgia Service Delivery Strategy Act. In August 2015, the City passed a resolution to halt the delivery of water and sewer services in the formerly annexed area. At that point, the County filed an amended counterclaim requesting the City be enjoined from discontinuing its water and sewer services. After a hearing, the trial court granted the County’s request for an interlocutory injunction. Finding no reversible error in the decision to issue an injunction, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment and remanded this matter for further proceedings.