Notice: Budget Work Session @ LCC 2020-05-27

This is all we know:

[Notice]
Notice

Date: May 27, 2020

Time: 9:30 AM

Location: Board of Commissioners Administration Building

Address: 327 N. Ashley Street
2nd Floor—Multipurpose Room
Valdosta, GA 31601

Well, we know they never video these budget meetings.

-jsq

Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Agenda: Jails, grants, hazards, roads, and Clyattville Park Community Center @ LCC 2020-05-26

No Lowndes County Commission agenda would be complete without another of these, in the agenda for zero dollars, but will cost taxpayers much more in subdivisions in the future: Approve Purchasing ROW and Drainage Easement for Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. TSPLOST Paving Project.

[Clyattstone Road]
Clyattstone Road in Lowndes County Tax Assessors map, connecting Old US 41 N and Val Del Road, where REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Road RA to PD was already approved for another subdivision, across from Nelson Hill.

They vote tonight at 5:30 PM.

Three years ago they chose among bids for the Naylor Community Center, but for the Architectural Services for A New Community Center for Clyattville Park they’re using the same architect with no bids.

The Lowndes County Commission will be spending the least taxpayer dollars tonight of any recent session.

CostWhat
$62,045.00 Motorola Maintenance and Support Agreement for Jail Software
$28,000.00 (Estimated) Architectural Services for A New Community Center for Clyattville Park
$20,000 Service Agreement with SGRC for Hazard Mitigation Plan Update
$1085.00 Approve Purchasing ROW and Drainage Easement for Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. TSPLOST Paving Project
$ 0 Adopt Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for SetterPointe Subdivision, Phase II
$111,130Total

What’s this? Adopt The Language Access Plan and Resolution for Federal Funded Grants? Continue reading

Packet: Juvenile Justice, TIA Old US 41, Two Oaks at Bemiss, Hazard Mitigation @ LCC 2020-05-12

LAKE did not video the May 12, 2020, Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, due to pandemic. There was no telephone dial-in and no facebook live. The last Lowndes County Commission video of its own meeting was February 25, 2020. So the only record will be the Minutes, which we may or may not see before their next meeting, which is this Tuesday.

We get a location map but no indication of future county tax-paid costs of upkeep for the infrastructure for Two Oaks at Bemiss.

[Location Map]
Location Map

Yet we get evaluations by three different people of three proposals for the Lowndes County Hazard Mitigation RFP; winning bid $20,000.

The packet contains only the agenda sheet and a signature page for a resolution for the GDOT TIA Old US 41 Widening; the actual Resolution is missing. Continue reading

Juvenile Justice, TIA Old US 41, Two Oaks at Bemiss, Hazard Mitigation @ LCC 2020-05-12

Update 2020-05-23: Packet: Juvenile Justice, TIA Old US 41, Two Oaks at Bemiss, Hazard Mitigation @ LCC 2020-05-12. There are no videos.

The lightest agenda for Tuesday’s Lowndes County Commission Regular Session that I’ve seen in a while will be voted on Tuesday in the Commission Chambers with masks. No teleconference. Presumably the County will be videoing and putting that on YouTube, as they usually do with Regular Sessions. There is no Work Session.

Also less expensive than most Commission meetings:

CostWhat
$330,854CJCC Funding FY 2021 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Application Regular Session DATE OF MEETING: May 12, 2020
$20,000.00FEMA Lowndes County Hazard Mitigation Request for Proposal Regular Session DATE OF MEETING: May 12, 2020
$350,854Total

Even on the least expensive item this time, Lowndes County Hazard Mitigation Request for Proposal, “Lowndes County recently requested pricing proposals from qualified contractors…” The RFP is on the county’s website.

Unlike the more expensive stream monitoring project of last month’s meeting, for which there was no RFP and no bids.

This item has no cost cited, but will cost the taxpayers for road maintenance in the future: Adopt Resolution accepting Infrastructure for Two Oaks at Bemiss.

[Case Point (Two Oaks at Bemiss)]
Case Point (Two Oaks at Bemiss)
Map: Lowndes County Tax Assessors

All the agenda sheet says for where is “located on Case Point, off Old Pine Road.” I’m guessing that includes Continue reading

Lowndes County, GA, Stream Monitoring and Stormwater Permit 2020-04-28

These documents answer some questions about what Lowndes County’s contractor is supposed to do for that $45,120.00 in Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring and Reporting of Impaired Streams. They raise a few more questions, such as what part of this plan required somebody so specialized that only Lovell Engineering Associates had such a person?

[IMPAIRED WATERS MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN]
IMPAIRED WATERS MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

For the weekly Fecal coliform samples, they’re going to use Flowers Lab of Madison, Florida, the same that many other organizations use. Continue reading

Packet: Stream monitoring, trash franchises, wetlands credits, force main, quit claims, paving, and Accountability Court @ LCC 2020-04-28

Apparently there was no legal public notice and no recording of the April teleconference meeting with the dial-in code changed less than three hours before, with $6,913,575.06 in taxpayers’ money being decided.

[Photo: Pine Grove Road Collection Center]
Photo: Pine Grove Road Collection Center

For that Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, at which everything was approved unanimously except the one split vote on the single-source no-bid stream monitoring contract, LAKE sent an open records request for “the teleconference audio recording and the log of teleconference attendees (who dialed in, by name, or, if name is not known, by telephone number) for the April 28, 2020, Lowndes County Commission Regular Session.”

The response from the County Clerk was:

The April 28th telephone meeting was not recorded other than the minutes that were taken. Further, the program used does not record a phone log for the option utilized for this meeting. This being case, there are no records responsive to your request. I do expect the next meeting to be held in the Commission Chambers with social distancing requirements observed. This being the case, citizens will have an opportunity to attend in person which is a much better format for everyone.

Well, that’s a matter of opinion. Do you think it’s better to have to wear a mask to the Commission Chambers and risk getting infected, than to listen on the phone?

The Valdosta City Council had their meeting this Thursday on facebook live. The Madison, Florida, BOCC has been doing theirs on gotomeeting. It’s curious how the most populous county in the region can’t manage a teleconference or video meeting.

LAKE received the full board packet two days after the meeting, at 5:07 PM on Thursday, April 30, 2020, in response to an open records request. It’s on the LAKE website. We look forward to Lowndes County putting its full packet on its website along with the agenda and one-page agenda sheets per item. Many other counties in Georgia and Florida have been doing this for years.

When will the Lowndes County Commission catch up with the 21st century?

April-28-2020-Commission-Meeting-Packet

By far the biggest item was the $6,545,729.00 Coleman Road Force Main Replacement. The county apparently saved a bunch of money by removing many amounts from the bid for the county to do directly.

[Amount Removed from Bid]
Amount Removed from Bid

Curious how they didn’t do that for the sole-source no-bid $45,120.00 Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring and Reporting of Impaired Streams. More on that in another blog post.

The county bid everything else that could be bid, including the $228,400.95 Continue reading

Teleconference: Stream monitoring, trash franchises, wetlands credits, force main, quit claims, paving, and Accountability Court @ LCC 2020-04-28

Update 2020-05-10:

Update 2020-05-09: Board packet.

Update 2020-05-02: Gretchen’s notes on each agenda item.

Was this even a public meeting? The Lowndes County Commission approved everything on its agenda yesterday, even though only really perceptive citizens could figure out how to listen to the teleconference. In which they approved everything, with only one split vote, for a $45,120.00 single-source item.

[Agenda Versions]
Agenda Versions

At 2:38 PM, less than three hours before the 5:30 PM voting Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, they made this one change to the online agenda:

Old:
“The call in number is 813-769-0500 and the access code is 373-829-614#”

New:
“The call in number is 813-769-0500 and the access code is 584-852-611#”

Can you spot the change? It’s the access code.

I didn’t notice the agenda had changed, so I used the old access code. Which only started a teleconference five minutes late, and then had 18+ minutes of silence.

Gretchen did notice the agenda had changed, but there was no indication of what had changed. She carefully looked to find that different access code. It’s a good bet Gretchen was the only citizen on the conference call, because likely few other people figured that out.

But that didn’t stop the Commissioners from approving everything on the agenda.

The only split vote was for: Continue reading

Videos: Val Del rezoning, Appointments 3 Boards, Road abandonment, additions, and paving, fire dept. bids @ LCC 2020-03-09

Eighteen minutes for the whole meeting, mostly consisting of reading out the agenda sheet text for each item. The longest item was 7b. Accept Gaines Lane Quit-Claim Deeds, apparently because of a need for a title search and to prepare a plat, and who would pay for it, the county or other.

Here are the costs found in the agenda sheets for each item, most expensive first:

CostWhat
$399,414.00 Bid for a 3,000 Gallon Tanker for the Fire Department
$28,327.04 Request to Purchase New Firefighter Turnout Gear
$19,167 Solicitor-General’s Office 2020 VAWA Grant Award Activation
$4,836.00 Approval of Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. ROW Purchases
$451,744.04Total

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a very few comments, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also: Continue reading

Packet: Val Del rezoning, Appointments 3 Boards, Road abandonment, additions, and paving, fire dept. bids @ LCC 2020-03-09

The board packet for the March 9 and 10 Work and Regular Sessions of the Lowndes County Commission is on the LAKE website, received 3:00 PM Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in response to a LAKE open records request. I did not have time to process it before the Regular Session 2.5 hours later.

Here are the costs found in the agenda sheets for each item, most expensive first:

CostWhat
$399,414.00 Bid for a 3,000 Gallon Tanker for the Fire Department d
$28,327.04 Request to Purchase New Firefighter Turnout Gear d
$19,167 Solicitor-General’s Office 2020 VAWA Grant Award Activation d
$4,836.00 Approval of Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. ROW Purchases d
$0 Abandonment of Unopened Right of Way – Hart Road d
$451,744.04Total

[Zoning Location Map]
Zoning Location Map
PDF

Of course, all those dollar figures are immediate costs. They do not include future costs such as road paving related to new subdivisions.

See also the LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission meeting. That GLPC meeting’s item 3. REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Road RA to PD, re-appears on this Lowndes County Commission agenda as 6.b. REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Rd. R-A to P-D, County Water and Sewer, ~72.54 acres Districts 2 and 5.

And see also Continue reading

Videos: Oak St. Pregnancy Clinic, Val Del Wetherington, Baytree Nijem @ GLPC 2020-02-24

The longest time, almost 16 minutes, was for Pregnancy Support Clinic of Valdosta at 2203 N. Oak St., followed at 14 minutes by REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Road RA to PD, with 12 minutes for the Jon Nijem rezoning and Planned Development at 406 & 410 Baytree Road, in a relatively short February meeting of the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission.

VA-2020-05 Pregnancy Support Clinic

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes. See also Continue reading