23 minutes last night to approve 3:2 with many conditions rezoning the 6c. REZ-2017-09 Robert A. Register Estate, with no shouting afterwards like there was at at the previous evening’s Planning Commission meeting, yet a lot of grumbling at the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, especially since they seem to have forgotten the greenspace condition.
I would like to commend the Commission for the amount and depth of discussion in this meeting, especially in the unscheduled 10. Commission Comments and Recognitions and Meeting Adjournment, which was mostly about Clay Griner’s idea of having a county-wide utility authority including all the cities in the county. Update 2017-10-20: moved the rest of this utility authority commentary down to the video item below.
Also not on the agenda was Chairman Slaughter comments on community response to Hurricane Irma (which were mostly about county staff; well-deserved especially for Ashley Tye) and Georgia Power Representative recognizes county hurricane response.
While it’s great that Georgia Power came to compliment the county, does that electric utility rep. reside in or pay property taxes in Lowndes County, and why was he not required to state his name and address? Ditto the software salesman for 7 f. Public Safety Information Technology Purchase. Sure and they had legitimate business with the county. But so do many county residents and taxpayers who don’t get to speak until the end of the meeting in Citizens Wishing to Be Heard, and then only if they filled out a form before the meeting. In many counties citizens can speak on any agenda item, and are invited also to speak before or after the main agenda items.
Of agenda items, seven and a half minutes for 7 f. Public Safety Information Technology Purchase (much of it confusion about the purchase price), followed at 4 minutes by 7b. Abandonment of part of Old Lake Park Road and Hickory Grove Road SE
An appointee had resigned from each of South Georgia Community Service Board and the Lowndes County DFCS Board, a Commissioner made a nomination on the spot, nobody made any other nomination, and the Chairman declared the one mentioned person appointed by acclamation, with no motion, no second, and no vote. Merriam-Webster defines acclamation as:
- a loud eager expression of approval, praise, or assent
- an overwhelming affirmative vote by cheers, shouts, or applause rather than by ballot
Apparently silence is loud approval at the Lowndes County Commission. Hm, I wonder if that’s legal.
Below are links to each LAKE video of the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session of 26 September 2017. See also the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session and the previous notes with the agenda. For the three rezoning cases, see also the LAKE videos of the Planning Commission meetings of 28 August 2017 and 25 September 2017.
- 1. Call to Order 2. Invocation 3. Pledge
- Chairman Slaughter comments on community response to Hurricane Irma
- Georgia Power Representative recognizes county hurricane response
- 4. Minutes for Approval
5 a. South Georgia Community Service Board Appointment
Video. For the boards, Shamb Purohit had resigned from the South Georgia Community Service Board in a term expiring in 2019. The Chairman nominated “Miss Cindy Vickery”; nobody else nominated anybody; and he hurriedly said she was appointed by acclamation and rushed on to the next item.
5 b. Lowndes County DFCS Board
Video. Similarly, Dr. Martha Giddings had resigned from the Lowndes County DFCS Board in a term ending 30 June 2020. Commissioner Joyce Evans “recommended” Ms. Rebecca Powell, nobody else nominated anybody, and the Chairman declared Ms. Powell appointed by acclamation.
- 6 a. REZ-2017-07 Tomlinson, US Hwy 41 S, E-A to R-A ~6.04 acres
- 6 b. REZ-2017-08 West Ridge Business Park, C-G to C-H, ~.84 acres
6 c. REZ-2017-09 Robert A. Register Estate, R-1 to R-10 ~126 acres
Video. The Chairman limited the public hearing part to three people on each side, which is legal, as long as each side gets 10 minutes, but what would be the problem with letting the public speak? If they repeat what somebody already said, the Chairman could say so and ask them to say something new or sit down.
Clay Griner made the motion with five conditions, Mark Wisenbaker seconded, and Demarcus Marshall also voted for. Joyce Evans and Scottie Orenstein voted against. See also Thomas Lynn, VDT, 28 September 2017, County approves zoning change.
Commissioner Scottie Orenstein made a good argument before the motion that since there was no developer involved, the landowners did not really know what the rezoning they really wanted. I predict if there ever is a developer (or more than one) for this property, the county will get one or more additional rezoning cases. And it may instead be like James Road, where no development ever happens, despite huge foofaraw.
- And the citizens who only came for one item exit
- 6d. Decorative Special Tax Lighting District: Creekside West, 40 lots
- 6 e. Public Hearing Renaming Little Poppy Road
- 6 f. Beer, Wine, and Liquor License The New Rascals
- 7 a. Amended Motorized Cart Ordinance
- 7b. Abandonment of part of Old Lake Park Road and Hickory Grove Road SE
- 7 c. Baptist Village Sewer Service Request
- 7 d. Addendum to the Withlacoochee Flood Inundation Mapping Project
- 7 e. USGS Funding Agreement for Hwy 122 Stream Gauge
- 7 f. Public Safety Information Technology Purchase
- 8. Reports County Manager
10. Commission Comments and Recognitions and Meeting Adjournment
Video. This was mostly about Commissioner Clay Griner’s idea of having a county-wide utility authority including all the cities in the county. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall recommended studying the idea more. It is not clear which, if any, of the other Commissioners support Griner’s idea.
While I don’t follow what the benefit would be, especially given that Utilities Director Steve Stalvey verified that Lowndes County Utilities is self-supporting from its fees, the discussion was substantive, interesting, and did not rush to a conclusion. Actual deliberation in public among our elected county officials! Speaking of Steve Stalvey, after the meeting adjourned, he revealed that Lowndes County had spilled sewage both the previous Saturday and several times during Tropical Storm Irma.
Here’s a LAKE video playlist:
Videos: Hurricane Irma, Register rezoning, Utility Authority
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, September 26, 2017.
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