Tuesday Chairman Bill Slaughter did say there will be a retreat Thursday and Friday this week, but he didn’t say where or what time of day. Yesterday afternoon they finally put on their website that it starts 8AM this morning at Quail Branch Lodge. Here’s hoping Commissioner Joyce Evans is well enough to attend.
In a refreshing change of procedure, they nominated all three candidates for two VLMPO vacancies, and selected the top two vote-getters: Phil Hubbard and Clay Milligan. However, only after they voted did they ask the candidates to speak. They clearly had never met Hubbard, since they didn’t know who he was, and the Chairman and the agenda got Clay Milligan’s name wrong.
Surprisingly, they did not approve 7c. Request for Relief for Tuscany Palms Utility Tax District. The developer wants $447,224.44 forgiven. That’s a lot of money, more than ever forgiven before. They tabled it so the County Attorney could research it more.
They tabled rezoning REZ-2017-01 Cone/Malone until April at the request of all parties, and they tabled REZ-2017-02 Calles until March for more information after once again the longest discussion in the meeting. The Airport Authority wants further input, due to proximity, and the many agencies who have examined the site have not yet provided reports to the county. County Planner Jason Davenport said the Planning Commission had not really heard this case, only 10 minutes from the public, right after County Chairman Bill Slaughter only allowed 10 minutes from the public in this County Commission meeting.
REZ-2017-02 Calles is also a water item, because of the wetlands, and a neighbor’s claim that wells were being polluted. Other water issues included the emergency custom switch for the Bevel Creek lift station single-sourced from Cowart Electric for $18,850, the engineering and permitting for the Jumping Gulley Bridge for which they approved $19,750, the Valencia Street Drainage Improvements, which they tabled for more analysis to determine which option to pursue, and Stacey Young’s CWTBH request from Roger Budd Company not to have to pay $300,000 to drill under Bemiss Road to connect to county water and sewer for an existing development.
Below are links to each of the LAKE videos of the Tuesday evening 14 February 2017 Regular Session, with a few notes, followed by a video playlist, all in the order of the meeting, which this time matched the agenda. See also the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session and for the rezonings the LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission meeting.
- 1. Call to Order 2. Invocation 3. Pledge
- Chairman’s Comments – Commissioner Evans recovering from accident
- 4. MInutes for Approval
5 a. Valdosta Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization Board (VLMPO)
Video. Scottie Orenstein nominated Richard Kerby. Clay Griner nominated Clayton Milligan. Mark Wisenbaker nominated Phil Hubbard. Votes: 1 for Kirby, 3 for Hubbard, 3 for Milligan. Hubbard and Milligan were elected. None of the candidates were asked to speak before they were nominated, and all declined to speak afterwards.
6 a. REZ-2017-01 Cone/Malone, 3222 Madison Hwy, E-A & CON to R-A, 3 acres
Video. Tabled until April at the request of all parties.
6 b. REZ-2017-02 Calles, Alexandria St, R-10 and CON to E-A, 13 acres
Video. In addition to his comments the previous morning about livestock as a motivation, County Planner Jason Davenport this time said another motivation was to eventually put a home on the property, neither of which would be permitted under the present R-10 zoning, but would be under E-A zoning. He clearly favored the rezoning, and said there were many letters from neighbors both opposed and in support. In response to a question from Commissioner Demarcus Marshall, Davenport recited a slightly longer list of animals now and proposed than before.
Applicant Wilmer Calles, also speaking for his mother Rosa Calles who is the landowner, named a long list of agencies he’d talked to, said all the animals were fenced, and expressed willingness to compromise by moving any animals they needed to.
In opposition, neighbor Clifford McMaugh of 2761 Alexandria Street, complained about mosquitos, horseflies, and claimed all the neighbors wells were being polluted, and also about rattlesnakes and water moccasins drawn to eggs. He said school buses drive fast down Alexandria Street and if they hit a horse “it’s gonna be problems”. He also said somebody poured concrete in his well and said the applicant admitted doing it.
County Planner Jason Davenport said the Planning Commission had not really heard this case, only 10 minutes from the public, right after County Chairman Bill Slaughter only allowed 10 minutes from the public in this County Commission meeting.
Commissioners wanted to see reports from the alphabet soup of agencies and also Rev. Rose of SCLC, before they made a decision, and also to let the Planning Commission hear it again. So they tabled it until March.
7a. Approval of Elected Officials Using County Purchasing/Credit Cards
Video. It’s for the new tax commissioner.
7b.Beer License – BP Food Mart – 1405 N. St. Augustine Rd.
Video. The usual due to change of ownership. They approved this, as they always do. So why do these things even come before the Commission?
7 c. Request for Relief for Tuscany Palms Utility Tax District
Video. Developer wants $447,224.44 forgiven. That’s a lot of money. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall asked whether they had ever forgiven anything close to that amount before. Answer from Finance Director Stephanie Black: no. Chairman Bill Slaughter recommended tabling until the County Attorney could look at it again. Marshall moved to table, Wisenbaker seconded, passed unanimously.
7 d. Bevel Creek Lift Station Automatic Transfer Switch
Video. Emergency Repair requiring a custom-built switch single-sourced from Cowart Electric for $18,850. How it’s handled now: someone needs to hurry over within 20 minutes to flip the switch because automatic transfer switch is broken. They approved the expenditure unanimously.
7 e. Architectural Services for Addition and Alterations to 911 Facility
Video. 8% of SPLOST-approved total: $63,600 to Studio 8 Design. Approved unanimously.
7e. 911 Center Comments and thank you from Chairman
Video. Chairman Bill Slaughter thanked everyone for the 911 center addition and alterations, saying it was one of the top SPLOST VII projects.
7f. Engineering and Environmental Permitting – Jumping Gully Bridge
Video. County Engineer Mike Fletcher said EMC Engineering has completed the hydraulic analysis and now wants to do the permitting; this is for the Jumping Gully Road bridge over Bevel Creek. He didn’t say the amount, but the previous morning he said it was $19,750 which determined the bridge needs to be raised 9 feet to get it out of the 100-year flood plain and to meet current GDOT requirements. They voted unanimously to approve.
7f. Jumping Gully Bridge (pt 2)
Video. The previous morning Fletcher also promised to say when this bridge was built. He did not. However, after they voted, County Manager Joe Pritchard said the bridge was built in 1971. Chairman Bill Slaughter again thanked Commissioners for moving ahead SPLOST VII, saying this was one of seven bridges in those approved tax expenditures.
7g. Drainage Improvements – Valencia Street
Video. County Engineer Mike Fletcher said this is at the intersection of Valencia and Milano Streets and there are two ways to do it; he presented pictures. They tabled it for more analysis of which option: curb and gutter, done by county (asphalt) or not (concrete) or other method such as a pre-cast grate, or a concrete poured solution.
7 h. Data Center Battery Replacement
Video. Aaron Kostyu said this was the UPS for the entire building they were in. They approved it.
7 i. Server Blades, Virtual and Operating System Software
7 j. 2017 Public Defender Contracts
Video. Like at the previous morning’s Work Session, nobody was there from the Public Defender’s office, so County Manager Joe Pritchard gave a very brief presentation. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall asked if they were still housed in the Bank of America building, since he’d heard somebody was going to buy that. Answer: yes, and nothing had been heard from any buyer. They approved the request.
8. Reports (none) 9. CWTBH – Stacey Young (Roger Budd Company)
Video. No report from the County Manager. Stacey Young of Roger Budd Company said they’d run into an issue with a project on Daly Road, where they want to pave all the roads and put in 55 new mobile homes. It’s an infrastructure problem, namely the county wants them to tie into county water, which would require boring under Bemiss Road at a cost to the developer of about $300,000. He asked for relief from the buffer to hook up to the infrastructure because they already have well and septic tanks. He said the state said they could reuse their existing infrastructure if the county would supply a letter saying no county infrastructure. He would be happy to connect if the county wanted to run water and sewer in there, but he couldn’t see paying $300,000 given that this is not a new development.
- 10. Adjournment
Here’s a LAKE video playlist:
Videos: 3 for 2 VLMPO appointments, 2 – 1 rezonings, 3 water + credit cards, alcohol
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, February 14, 2017.
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!