Public transportation and public records in Lowndes County

Jane Osborn asked me 6 Jan 2011:
Here are the notices about public transportation that was supposed to be done some time ago. I am trying to figure out how the county will compensate private providers for all this transportation.
Good question. I can’t answer it, but maybe I can point at some related information that might help.

She was referring to two public notices in the VDT of that same day, Exhibit 8B, which is about the MIDS service, which is one of the ones in the list in Exhibit 8A. If you call MIDS, a small van will pick you up and deliver you, all for a flat fee, if I understand it correctly. It’s the closest thing we have to a bus system around here.

It looks like MIDS comes up for renewal about every two years, according to the agendas:

23 June 2009
e. Section 5311 Rural Transportation Program Supplemental Agreement
Section 5311 Rural Transportation Program Supplemental Agreement, County Engineer, Mike Fletcher, presented the agreement, explaining that the agreement was due to a realignment in federal funding and would not result in any cost to the county. Vice Chairperson Evans made a motion to approve the agreement, Commissioner Lee second. Motion carried.
27 October 2009
6.e. Section 5311 Rural Transportation Program Stimulus Contract
Section 5311 Rural Transportation Program Stimulus Contract, County Engineer, Mike Fletcher, presented the contract. Commissioner Lee made a motion to approve the contract and accept stimulus funding in the amount of $68,600.00, at no cost to the county, Commissioner Evans second. Motion carried.
11 July 2011, 12 July 2011
7.a. Section 5311 Rural Transportation Program Operating Contracts
10-11 October 2011
8.b. Section 5311 Rural Transportation Program Capital Contract
7 November 2011
7.a. Section 5311 Rural Transportation Program Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy
It may have come up more times than that; that’s just what I found with a quick look through old agendas. There may be further information in the various minutes. Imagine what you could find if the county posted its agendas and minutes on the web in HTML so they’d be easily searchable! At least they do post them in PDF, which is more than most local appointed boards do.

All those contracts and policies presumable are also public records, retrievable through open records requests. I would hope some of the contracts would have the specifics on compensation you seek.

Exhibit 8B says you can ask for a public hearing if you want to say something to the Commission about it.

Commissioner Joyce Evans claims credit for getting the MIDS system working, so she probably knows everything there is to know about it.


PS: Appended are the two notices, EXHIBIT 8A and EXHIBIT 8B which I found on the VDT’s online public notice search thing, category miscellaneous, keyword transportation. The county’s own web pages have a link for Public Notices, but none of this kind of public notice is included there.

List of private providers operating in the service area:
Five Star Taxi
MIDS, Inc.
Azalea City Cab Company
AA Superior Transportation Taxi
Azalea City Limousine Service
Prestige Transportation
1 800 Limo Now
5 Star Limousine Service
H.L. Brown Limo Service
Super Suds Limo Service
All Star Limousine
Airport Express LLC
Pearl Executive Shuttle
Apex Limousine
Regional Emergency Medical Services
Checker Cab
Legacy Coaches
Executive Travel Services
Date Notified: January 6th, 2012

Attach Notice and Affidavit from newspaper or letter sent to private providers.

Last Day to Respond: January 24th, 2012

Lowndes County will annually review existing service and any proposed service changes to determine the feasibility of private providers providing the public service. An annual review will be scheduled and a review format will be developed to carry out this task. Private providers will be notified and their interest in the service provision will be assessed. Private providers will be invited to attend and be a part of the annual review process.

Date: January 24th, 2012

Signature of Authorized Officer

Ashley Paulk, Chairman
Name and Title
of Authorized Officer

Lowndes County is applying for funding assistance under Title 49 U.S.C. Section 5311 of the Federal Transit Act pertaining to rural and small urban areas.

Lowndes County will offer general public transportation to all citizens of Lowndes County for any worthwhile purpose, including but not limited to shopping, medical treatment, social services and other purposes.

Lowndes County solicits private sector input and participation to assure that private for-profit transportation operators have a fair and timely opportunity to participate in the development of this program.

Lowndes County also solicits comments and concerns from the general population on local rural public transportation services.

Lowndes County also solicits comments and concerns from the disabled population and their representatives to assure that issues relating to the disabled are addressed in the service design proposed during the planning process.

Interested persons are invited to request that a public hearing be held to discuss the services being offered or development of the application.

Written comments, requests for a public hearing and/or written notice of intent by private for-profit transportation operators to provide or participate in any or all of the above services should be submitted no later than fifteen (15) days from the date of this publication to:

Ashley Paulk
Lowndes County Board
of Commissioners
327 N. Ashley Street
Valdosta, GA 31601

If no response is received within the fifteen (15) days, the Department of Transportation will proceed with the application.



1 thought on “Public transportation and public records in Lowndes County

  1. Jane Osborn

    Another issue here is that there will be no public hearing on this issue unless someone ASKS for it. Without a hearing, it just goes forward with no other public information about being presented. Anyone may ask for a hearing, but I would especially think that there are people who really need a functional system that is not just focused on people who have access to Medicaid as a payment source due to illness or disability. Requesting such a hearing before January 24 would give the opportunity to have all this information presented and for questions to be asked and answered.

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