The three Commissioners who showed up voted 2 to 1 for a no-bid purchase of not just one but two expensive pieces of water treatment equipment, with no bids, not on the budget, not discussed at the retreat, and not included in SPLOST VII.
The KLVB appointment was tabled because applicant withdrew. They finally found out the open Board of Health slot was only until December 2015 and the usual terms are six years. Commissioners as usual didn’t ask any questions when County Engineer Mike Fletcher said yet another subdivision was ready for infrastructure to be accepted by the county.
Here’s the agenda.
LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street — 2nd Floor
Here are links to the videos, followed by a playlist.
1. Call to Order 2. Invocation 3. Pledge of Allegiance
Video. Rev. Minister Commissioner Richard Raines actually said representative form of government, rather than his old Republican form of government.
- 4. Minutes for Approval
5. Appointments a. KLVB (tabled) b. Board of Health
Video. As I predicted, the plan was to reappoint KLVB Board member term expiring 2014 Nick Hinson, but County Manager Joe Pritchard said the previous morning they received word Hinson was withdrawing his name. So they’ll try again next meeting, presumably in two weeks.
The applicants were Barbara D. Tucker (experience as EMS Program Coordinator at Wiregrass Tech, labor of love), Dr. John M[yron]. Faircloth (family nurse practitioner, teaches at VSU, started rural health clinic), and Dr. Rebecca Green ( VSU Assistant Professor and former Valdosta City School Nurse), all whom did speak. Commissioner Richard Raines said he served on the board of health as the chairman’s proxy, and moved to appoint Faircloth. Seconded by Demarcus Marshall. Unanimous approval.
Incumbent Mary Margaret Richardson was not on the list; she was recently (27 May 2014) appointed to the Hospital Board.
Meanwhile, I called the Health Department and asked. No term has expired. Sheila Warren moved out of state and resigned. her term ends in December 2015, so until then is the amount of time the new appointee will serve. The actual length of a term is six (6) years.
6.a. Purchase of Alapaha and Spring Creek Equipment
Video. Followup on no-bid contract approved 13 August 2013 to Lovell Engineering. Lovell now offers a reduced price of $71,000 for Spring Creek if county purchases it right now along with equipment for Alapaha.
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know why a piece of equipment that was determined through a study for the Lake Alapaha water well would be appropriate for another nowhere near the river. Utilities Director Mike Allen said no further study had been done, but that one was generic, and the same equipment would work to treat water elsewhere.
Marshall wanted to know whether some other equipment would do just as well. Allen said that was possible, but he thought this equipment was the best out there.
Chairman Bill Slaughter asked Allen whether they had detected the same byproducts as at Alapaha. He said yes. Slaughter said that meant the county would probably come under a consent order like the one for Alapaha.
Commissioner Richard Raines said he thought it was no small matter to save $71,000.
Commissioner Marshall said it was already a large amount just for Alapaha; and this additional purchase was not on the SPLOST VII list and wasn’t discussed in the retreat, so Allen would have to sacrifice something else from the SPLOST list.
Chairman simplified the question to just whether to buy one or two.
Marshall moved to purchase just the $759,000 of equipment for Lake Alapaha. No second.
Raines moved to purchase both systems, for Alapaha, and for Spring Creek. Commissioner Joyce Evans seconded. Evans and Raines voted for. Marshall voted against.
I wonder whether something better and less expensive might be available later. I wonder why, if one piece of equipment fits all, why did they pay for a study? And why didn’t Utilities do these tests before the retreat, maybe even before the SPLOST list was decided, so they could budget for extra equipment? And oversimplifying questions is how the county repeatedly gets into these got-to-vote-now no-bid over-spending situations.
6.b. Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for Bemiss Landing
Video. The previous morning County Engineer Mike Fletcher said it was located off of Knights Academy Road; work was essentially complete; punch list had been supplied to contractor; nothing would be spent until all items were completed and signed off on by county. This time he said less, and Commissioners still had no questions.
6.c. FY2014 EMPG Reward and Recovery Award Application
Video. The previous morning Emergency Management Director Ashley Tye said it was to replace an ancient generator and for related purposes.
Commissioner Richard Raines wanted to know if any of the county’s share could be in-kind. Answer: not much, since the cost of the generator was so much of it, and somebody else would have to install the generator.
6.d. Contract for Extension agents and staff
Video. Finance Director Stephanie Black said it was a contract between the University of Georgia and the county for extension agent and staff salaries, benefits, and travel reimbursements for FY 2015.
6.e. Road Right of Way for Riverside Road
Video. County Engineer Mike Fletcher said it was to obtain right of way from Lochlan LLC. The previous morning he also said it was an agreement for right of way signatures and for water and sewer down McCormick whenever the road gets paved.
7. Reports – County Manager
Video. No report.
Video. And I turned in my Citizens Wishing to Be Heard for 2 minutes late, so the Chairman declined to let me speak.
Here’s a video playlist:
Videos: Appt to KLVB & Health, County Extension, Alapaha water treatment, Riverside Road, Bemiss Landing Subdivision
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 22 July 2014.