These videos are for those of you who have jobs, or responsibilities, which prevent you from taking random days or hours off at a time. Commissioner Marshall was absent from the second day of the retreat because he has a job which does not allow him the flexibility of daytime hours off. (The first day of the retreat was on Presidents Day.)
The topics of discussion ranged from the ever popular litter and trash collection, to special tax districts, fire and emergency response, animal control and the animal shelter, and one of my favorites, electronic records. Most presentations were made either by the county manager or clerk but the current Deep South Solid Waste Authority Chairman Kevin Beals was first up to talk trash.
Solid Waste Franchise Agreement
The trash franchise agreement terms are contentious every year, this year was no exception. Deep South Sanitation wants to take the trash they collect to the landfill in Thomas County, rather than the landfill in Lowndes (owned by Advanced Disposal). In 2015, a letter was sent to trash haulers about where trash could be taken. I haven’t seen the letter, but apparently it said that haulers “may” carry trash to landfills in Lowndes, Thomas, or Atkinson counties. Then, in the franchise agreement it says that a hauler must ask for permission to do so. This apparent conflict lead to a discussion of was it OK for Deep South to use the Thomas County landfill and what exactly does it mean when a letter says “may”. Video.
Community Relationships and Communications
Video. Perhaps the most amusing interruption of the day: “He’s just talking.”
The demographics of our community aren’t a surprise. Who we really are:
- median age: 29.4
- between 2014-2015 median household income decreased: 37.2K -> 36.8K
- population: 113K
- people in the workforce: 45,505
jsq adds: Well, part of the reality. Looking at an age pyramid in five-year chunks, there’s a big spike at 20-24 because of VSU and the other colleges, followed by a big drop-off as students go to Atlanta and elsewhere to get jobs because there aren’t enough jobs here. That leaves a big gap from 25-34, before people start coming back, peaking at 39, perhaps not coincidentally a typical military retirement age. Sure, these charts are from year 2000 census data, but the age-gap phenomenon hasn’t really changed much, despite all the efforts of the Commission, VLCIA, et al. to produce more jobs. That 29.4 median age is solidly in the gap between college age and retirement age for Lowndes County.
This local college-age population spike is the opposite of the state of Georgia at large, which shows a drop at college age.
Moody Support (this was discussed yesterday)
At 3:45 in this brief video, County Clerk Dukes addresses the VDT reporter Thomas Lynn directly and asks if he is taking notes or recording (he was not recording) as she would like an article written about employment of Moody spouses. It seems there is a misconception in the community about how long people are deployed at MAFB and as a result hesitate to employ spouses. She then gave an example of a long term county employee who was a Moody spouse. Video.
Agenda Management Software
Commissioner Orenstein has been an advocate for electronic minutes, agendas, and packets since he was first elected. It seems that he may be making progress. County Clerk Page Dukes indicated at minute 13:30 that perhaps by 1/1/2019 it would be possible to deliver the packets to the commissioners electronically, and have some materials online for the public. Video.
Appointees to Board and Authorities
Commissioner Griner was concerned about misinformation on the DCA web site about boards and authorities to which Lowndes County makes appointments. I understand his frustration with misinformation. On the topic of applicants for boards and authorities, the commission relies primarily on word of mouth. I wish they had a more well announced application process, perhaps with an advertisement in the newspaper and appointments made on a quarterly basis, rather than the adhoc scheduling that is currently used. But, that’s just me. Video.
Animal Services –Target Zero Report
Animal control and the shelter are an annual topic at the retreat. This year is no exception. Video.
A little bit more about animal shelter
And when I thought they were finished, I was mistaken. Video.
Public Safety: Fire Rescue : Emergency Response
Clerk Dukes gave a powerpoint presentation with GIS graphics and overlays of where fire, rescue, and ems calls have been in the county. This segment has an extended discussion of expanded fire coverage, the challenges of a blended (paid and volunteer) fire department, the need for more ambulances, and who responds in which situation and what their exact duties are. Video.
Goals Review: Water and Sewer, CourtHouse, Tourism, Litter
This seemed like it was going to be a wrap up of issues but was an extended discussion of litter. Start and end the day with trash. I had to leave before they were finished. Video.
If you have any questions about any of these topics, be sure to call you commissioner. Their job is to make sure the government in our community works for all of us.
Here’s a LAKE video playlist:
Videos: Day 2, Planning, Lowndes County Commission
Annual Planning Meeting, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 20 February 2018.
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!