The resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline, including to be filed with FERC, was passed 6 to 1 by the Valdosta City Council Thursday 11 December 2014, supporting the resolution the Lowndes County Commission passed unanimously Tuesday, plus a clause about protecting our drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer; see separate post. John Robinson thanked the city for a VSEB contract. The personal care home rezoning passed. The taxicab ordinance was deferred (not all cab company owners had been consulted yet), while two others passed. Also some bids rejected while others were approved, a reappointment of Tom Kurrie to the Valdosta Housing Authority, and recognized employee of the month Terrial Small.
Here’s the agenda. For background, see the videos of the Tuesday Work Session, including a bomb report by Police Chief Childress. The videos from the Thursday Regular Session are linked below, followed by a video playlist.
- 1. Call to Order, Invocation, Pledge
2. Awards – Consideration of the December. 2014 Employee of the Month Award
(Terrial Small, Public Works Department).
Video. Public Works Director Richard L. Hardy and Mayor John Gayle presented an award to Terrial Small, crew leader at Sunset Hill Cemetery, including opening and closing graves and at least once consoling a grieving widow.
- 3. Minutes for Approval
4.a. Public Hearing – CU-2014-11
Consideration of an Ordinance for a Conditional Use Permit to allow an expansion of an existing Personal Care Home in a Multi-Family Residential (R-M) Zoning District as requested by Normal Life of Georgia, Inc. (File No. CU-2014-11). The property is located at 534 Griffin Avenue. The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission reviewed this request at their November Regular Meeting and recommended approval (6-0 Vote).
Video. City Planner Matt Martin presented. and at the Apparently he had found the electronic copies of the maps staff misplaced before the Planning Commission meeting, because he showed them at the Work Session and the Regular Session. The home operator said she’d been doing this for 25 years on behalf of Normal Life of Georgia and asked for approval. Nobody spoke in opposition. Council Sonny Vickers moved to approve as presented, Sandra Tooley seconded, no discussion, unanimous approval.
5.a. Ordinances – Business Licenses
Consideration of an Ordinance to amend Chapter 90 – Taxation, Article II – Occupational Tax, Section 90-50 – When Tax Due and Payable; Effect of Transacting Business When Delinquent, of the City of Valdosta’s Municipal Code.
Video. Current deadline for business licenses is April 1st. That used to make sense with paper billing and payments, but with modern methods it’s “an excessively late date”. Council Tim Carroll moved to approve, Sandra Tooley seconded, no discussion, unanimous approval.
5.b. Ordinances – Taxi Cabs
Video. City Manager Larry Hanson said some taxi cab drivers had approached council asking for meters. The city researched this, looking at how other cities did it. A citizen drafted an ordinance. “Today” several taxicab owners called expressing concerns. Hanson recommended postponing until there was more conversation and consensus among affected parties. Somebody moved to postpone and somebody seconded. There was discussion about when to get the affected parties to meet: probably not until January. Motion carried 6 to 1. The 1 was apparently Council Robert Yost, who abstained. After a question by Council Tim Carroll, apparently the Mayor counted that as a vote against.
- 5.c. Resolution – Sabal Trail
6.a. Consideration of bids for resurfacing City Streets using SPLOST funds and Georgia Department of Transportation Local Maintenance and Improvement Program (LMIG) funds.
Video. Emily Davenport, Assistant Director of Engineering, said there was a 30% match of $131,869, on a total project cost of $570,486, plus more detail. Council Tim Carroll moved, I think Alvin Payton seconded, no discussion, unanimous approval.
6.b. Bids – Paving of Annexed Island 51 (Dogwood Circle)
Video. Council Alvin Payton moved to award the low bid. Somebody seconded, all approved.
6.c. Bids – North Oak Street Extension Ditches
Video. Emily Davenport, Assistant Director of Engineering, said there was a insufficient right of way right now, but it did need to be paved. She said bids were significantly higher than expected, recommended rejecting them until GDOT finished some design work. Council Alvin Payton moved to reject. I think Sandra Tooley seconded. Unanimous approval to reject the bids.
6.d. Bids – Supplement Environmental Project (SEP)
Video. Utilities Director Henry Hicks presented. Council Tim Carroll moved to award the contract. Somebody seconded. All approved.
7. Appointments – Valdosta Housing Authority
Video. Mayor John Gayle said Tom Kurrie was the only applicant for the Valdosta Housing Authority, and wanted to be reappointed, so the mayor reappointed him.
8. City Manager’s Report
Video. City Manager Larry Hanson thanked citizens and employees for attending and organizing the Christmas Tree lighting and other festivities.
He showed everyone the “Smart Energy Municipality of the Year” he had received on behalf of the city 4 December 2014 in Atlanta, for smart use of energy and water.
He noted Valdosta had been using body cameras for police for months, and the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) was using Valdosta as a model for that, also nationwide.
He said U.S. Postal Service was not going to close the downtown Post Office, but they were planning to relocate “the retail portion of that”. Appeals can be sent by January 6th, presumably to USPS.
9. Council Comments
Video. Council Alvin Payton apologized for missing the Tuesday Work Session due to a schedule conflict.
Council Tim Carroll said he had just texted “Henry” and Sementha Matthews a picture of them as Santa Claus.
Sonny Vickers commended people for a Christmas giveaway event.
Recognition of student group (AP Government) from Valwood Schools
Video. Mayor John Gayle recognized some students in the back of the room. Their teacher said they were an AP government class from Valwood; he didn’t say his name.
- 10. Citizens to be Heard – Michael Noll
- 10. Citizens to be Heard – John Robinson
- 10. Citizens to be Heard – John Quarterman
- 10. Citizens to be Heard – Tom Hochschild
Video. Merry Christmas, said the Mayor.
Here’s a video playlist:
Resolution against Sabal Trail pipeline + 3-1 ordinances
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 11 December 2014.