Eight minutes to do your business: yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall took the day off from his work at the City of Valdosta to be there. Not clear the rest of them took it that seriously. He and at least one other Commissioner did get some questions in. And they did all show up, at least. We’ll see if they’re all there for voting this evening at 5:30 PM.
The Chairman helped the Utilities Director clarify the Grinder Pump specifications until the idea was only slightly muddy.
The main topic of the tabled-last-time Ordinance about Board of Health Rules was yet again access to the document. The Chairman said, “We can see if we can get it in electronic form.” They’ve been looking into that for years, while many counties big and small in Georgia and Florida have been doing it for even more years.
The only items with no questions from Commissioners were the computer bulk purchase, the Solicitor General’s VOCA Supplemental Grant MOU, and the County Manager’s announcement about millage data.
Below are links to the LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist.
- 1. Call to Order 4. Minutes for Approval
5a. Valdosta- Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority
Video. County Manager Joe Pritchard noted that county appointee Michael H. McDowell, whose KLVB term is expiring, is the last of the original county appointees to that board. He recommended Bubba Highsmith, whose Valdosta-appointed term is also appointed, for the county slot. Highsmith is a State Farm Insurance Agent.
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know if other names had been considered: Hiram Johnson, former coach of Lowndes High School, or Reginald Mitchell, the current athletic director. Pritchard responded: “They have submitted those names previously.” It wasn’t clear whether he meant VLPRA had submitted those names, or whether those individuals had submitted applications. Marshall said he had spoken to them yesterday, and “both gentlemen are interested in serving as well.” Chairman Bill Slaughter added, “I have spoken to Mr. Highsmith, and he is willing to serve, as well.”
None of the candidates spoke at that meeting, and so far as I know, none of them were there. Plus the county might get more applicants, and hear about them before the last minute, if they actually posted an announcement in advance that there were openings.
6a.Beer, Wine & Liquor License – Jack’s Chophouse, 4479 N. Valdosta Rd.,
Video. Finance Director Stephanie Black said “this location previously operated as Southern Landing, among other things, but it’s been closed for several years.” The Chairman said they were moving along to the next item, when a Commissioner remarked, “Excuse me!”
6a. (part 2) Beer, Wine & LIquor License – Jack’s Chop House
Video. Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted to know where is this location? Finance Director Black’s answer: “This is where the old Southern Landing, Charley Trooper’s, Fiddler’s Green, was.” He seemed happy with that. No directions around here are complete without “the old” in them. Apparently she meant at 4479 N Valdosta Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602, east of I-75 and Coleman Road, before the railroad tracks and Old US 41 North.
7 a. RFP for Banking Services
Video. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know how long the county typically stayed with a bank. Finance Director Stephanie Black said banking services are contracted for three years with three one year optional extensions.
Why does the county need a new bank? Apparently banks bid on various criteria, although what those are exactly weren’t mentioned. Probably an open records request could reveal the details.
- 7.b. Computer Bulk Purchase
7.c. Amendments to E-One Grinder Pump Station Specifications
Video. Utilities Director Steve Stalvey apparently read from agenda sheet, then volunteered that he “been in touch with the Homebuilders’ Association, and we will be having a meeting with the homebuilders and the plumbers where they will be getting some recertification; that will help us get this information out and about to the builders.” Chairman Bill Slaughter noted that once a grinder pump is installed, the county takes over maintenance.
So this just-announced meeting is that builders and developers will know to install equipment that when infrastructure is taken into the county inventory, it actually matches the equipment the county uses and maintains. Or something like that.
7.d. Ordinance Adopting Current Board of Health Rules
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall asked if the complete document was available electronically. He was not given an affirmative answer. County Manager Joe Pritchard repeated yet again that there was one copy “here in the room”. Chairman Bill Slaughter when asked again said, “We can see if we can get it in electronic form.”
Even commissioners have difficulty getting electronic records, even after they voted to buy and implement software that will eliminate paper agendas and binders. It’s an easy bet that that document wasn’t composed on a manual typewriter, so there should be no trouble getting it in PDF. If there is, they have copiers with a little button that converts to PDF on a USB stick. They’ve been looking into this issue for years now, while numerous counties big and small in Georgia and Florida already put everything in their agenda packet online before the meeting.
7.e. Solicitor-General’s VOCA Supplemental Grant MOU
Video. The Chairman did not introduce the presenter, nor did she say what her name is. She did say the grant was already approved, and the current request is just for the Commissioners to approve doing it. Commissioners had no questions.
8. Reports 10. Meeting Adjournment
Video. County Manager Joe Pritchard said the Finance Department has recently received financial data from the Tax Commissioner concerning “our potential millage rate assessment” and Finance Director Stephanie Black and he would be reviewing that data and preparing a presentation to the Commission.
Here’s a LAKE video playlist:
Videos: City to County KLVB, Grinder Pump, Bank, Computers, Health Ordinance, and Alcohol
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, July 23, 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!