Not on the agenda: Coal Ash and Y-Lead from Hahira Middle School and Teen Explosion. Also Stone Creek train quiet hours.
In a fifteen minute item, the Commission approved a split rezoning for REZ-2017-02 Calles, and they approved the removal of conditions from REZ-2017-03 Val North Dr, Stewart Circle. They approved the CDBG Grant preparation, but they didn’t mention they can’t actually apply until the resolve their feud with the local cities about tax allocation.
Below are links to each LAKE video of the 14 March 2017 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, with a few notes, followed by a video playlist. See also the agenda and the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session.
- 1. Call to Order 2. Invocation 3. PLedge
Chairman’s Recognition – Student Group seeking proclamation
Y-LEAD (Youth Leadership Exploration and Development) is a program at Hahira Middle School that fosters leadership skills within students through various social and service-oriented activities.
Y-Lead’s faculty sponsor is Ashleigh Kenny.
Helen Lester said that Teen Explosion was there to ask for a proclamation to declare April the month of awareness for alcohol abuse. The Chairman said he would get that on the next agenda.
- 4. Minutes for Approval
5a. REZ-2017-02 Calles, Alexandria St, R-10 and CON to R-A and CON
Video. Speaking against: Judy Haverkamp in concern for the livestock, saying RA would resolve that. Cliford D. McMaugh next door at 2761 Alexandria Street said he had sent pictures and paperwork for the Commissioners to look at (which the Commissioners did not make available for the tax-paying and voting public to look at), which he said demonstrate the property is often four feet deep for five days straight, with mosquitoes, and he fears dengue virus, especially with livestock.
Speaking in favor as as usual was Wilmer Calles speaking for his mother Rosa Calles, this time with his uncle Joseph Neice, who said he is married to Rosa Calles’ sister. They spoke about the concerns of the neighbors. The Commission showed many pictures apparently from those in support.
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall said he went out there and expected to see a swamp, and asked when they purchased the property. Answer: April 2005. He asked more questions, getting to the gist that they’re out of code right now and the rezoning is so they will become legal. Commissioner Scott Orenstein asked about fencing, and Wilmer Calles said they were more than willing to fence in the entire property within sixty days, using whatever fencing would be allowed.
The commission voted for RA (2.5 acres) and CON (remainder).
5b. REZ-2017-03 Val North Dr, Stewart Circle, PD Amendment
Video. Nobody spoke against, and only the applicant spoke for. Commission voted to approve removal of conditions.
- 6a. FY 2017 CDBG Grant, Habitat for Humanity
6b. Beer & Wine License – Bhumi Corporation – 6685 Bemiss Rd
Video. Approved, as they always do. Why do they even hear these licenses?
6c. Sheriff’s Office Vehicle Lease Agreement
Video. Sheriff purchased a vehicle with his own funds and will lease it to the county for use by Sheriff Paulk so it can be covered by county insurance for $1. They approved that.
6d. Peterson Road Isolation Valves
6e. Stone Creek Antenna Space License Agreement
7. Reports – County manager – need an executive session at end
Video. Attorney-client privilege regarding pending litigation. They didn’t say what litigation, of course. Could it be the feud with the local cities about tax revenue distribution?
8. CWTBH – Gretchen Quarterman on Coal Ash
Video. She thanked the county, specifically Public Works Director Robin Cumbas, for picking up the mountains of trash WWALS has been picking up at the river landings.
She discussed HB 387 and HB 388, which would have required public notice when coal ash ponds are dewatered and coal ash is disposed of. Georgia Power is closing 29 coal ash ponds with 8-10 million tons of coal ash, with mercury, lead, arsenic, and “stuff you wouldn’t want to get into your water systems”. Right now there are no regulations for notification. But since Georgia is a home rule state, the county could make an ordinance requiring notification of the public.
Chairman Bill Slaughter interrupted to say they were going to do a minute of silence about agriculture and the impending freezing temperature, on a timing with local churches. Apparently the staff was also surprised, since it took a few seconds for the CWTBH countdown clock to stop.
“So our water is really one of our big resources here. We sit on the Floridan Aquifer. We have our beautiful rivers. And the state: those two bills got stuck in committee; they didn’t get out. Potentially they’re going to have a study committee to see about how to proceed next year.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something right now to protect ourselves. To say you know that if coal ash is going to come into the landfill, that the landfill would have to notify us, to notify the public to say we’re going to take this in, and this is what we’re going to do with it. One of the bills was to say they couldn’t take in over a certain amount without having a federal [actually state] permit. So we could consider something like that locally. Please.
And again, thank you very much Robin for picking up the trash at the rivers.”
8. CWTBH – Steve Parker on train quiet hours near Stone Creek
Video. Also Angela Evans. They wanted to say thank you for the quiet zone at Stone Creek. They said the biggest job was getting the Stone Creek Property Owners Association to approve the $6400 for the study.
Here’s a LAKE video playlist:
Videos: Coal ash, Calles, Val North PD Water Sewer, Habitat CDBG, Sewage Valves, Stone Creek Antenna, Sheriff, Alcohol
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, March 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!