All the main items breezed by unanimously, including the Comprehensive Plan and the Hospital Authority re-appointment of Ben Copeland, at the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, November 9, 2021.
Below are LAKE videos of each agenda item with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session, the agenda and Board packet, and, for the rezonings and the tower, the LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission meeting.
For the Comprehensive Plan, see also the LAKE videos of the preceding Comprehensive Plan Update Meeting 2 and the Character Area Maps for it, the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session before that, and the quite lengthy first Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing.
1. Call to Order 2. Invocation 3. Pledge
5. Minutes for Approval
6.a. Appointment Hospital Authority Of Valdosta And Lowndes County
7.a. REZ-2021-22 John Sineath, 3895 US HWY 41 North, 0.63 Acres R-1 To C-G
7.b. REZ-2021-23 Cotton Property, 3986 Wilkerson Road, 5 Acres, E-A To R-A
7.c. REZ-2021-24 Barry Godfrey, Mt. Zion Church Road 1.5 Acres, R-10 To C-H
Commissioner Scottie Orenstein wanted to know if there had been any public emails, texts, etc. in opposition. Answer: no. They approved the rezoning unanimously.
7.d. TWR-2021-01 CitySwitch II, LLC, Bemiss Road, New 265′ Tower
The only speaker in the public hearing was for. He said the initial user would be AT&T, and the tower was being built to accomodate other users.
8.a. FY23 5311 Regional Transit Resolution
8.b. Adoption Of Budget Calendar For FY 2022 – 2023
8.c. Community Development Block Grant-CV – Second Harvest
8.d. Code Red Annual Renewal
8.e. Request For Cash Match Increase For VAWA ASG Salary Supplement
Gretchen notes: It turns out that 48K for a lawyer to work in the Solicitors Office is too little salary. Imagine that.
Commissioner Scottie Orenstein wanted to know whether this would come up every year. County Manager Paige Dukes said it would. The county can ask for an increase ongoing, but that’s not likely to happen. Commissioner Joyce Evans asked for confirmation, and got it. The Commissioners approved the item unanimously.
8.f. 2021 Comprehensive Plan Adoption
8.g. Opioid Litigation
Gretchen notes: Apparently this was the reason for the executive session yesterday.
9.a. 2021 LMIG Safety Action Plan Restriping
10. Reports – County Manager
County Manager Paige Dukes thanked SGRC’s Elizabeth Backe for her work on the Comprehensive Plan, especially given that current county staff had not been through this process before. She noted that the aforementioned county staff (Dillard and Barwick) were in a statewide meeting about planning.
She complimented Fire Chief Green about a fire safety month.
Asbestos removal from the historic Courthouse is going on now.
Both grants, Windstream and water and sewer, were submitted to the state.
She and Finance Manager Stephanie Black just graduated from a finance institute.
And again appreciation for Veterans Day.
11. CWTBH – Kathryn Grant about Elections Office
Due to GA SB 202, she wanted to know who is the governing authority of the Lowndes County Board of Elections, and $346,000 last year was granted to that Board. She wanted to see line item of how that money was spent.
County Chairman Bill Slaughter asked County Manager Paige Dukes to answer. She said that the Board of Elections is appointed by the Grand Jury, and that Board then hires staff. The Lowndes County Commission and staff approve funding, but that’s all. BoE answers to the Secretary of State “from a regulatory standpoint” and then again to the Grand Jury for appointment or reappointment of board members.
Ms. Grant wanted to know if the Supervisor of Elections was also appointed by the Grand Jury. Answer: No, the Supervisor is hired by the BoE.
Q: When does the Grand Jury meet? A: That information comes from the Clerk of Superior Court’s office, Ms. Beth Greene.
Ms. Grant said it was her understanding that every year one BoE seat is up, it must be advertised, and applications accepted, to be viewed by the Grand Jury. A: Every bit of that is managed by the District Attorney’s office, as well as the Clerk of Superior Court. Both them are elected by voters.
Ms. Grant said she’d been asking about that $346,000 for some time. Specifically, the Supervisor of Elections directed her to the County Manager. A: County Manager said she could provide what BoE asked to be funded for last yer, which mostly went to personnel costs due to the number of elections last year. Much of that for poll workers, many of whom get trained but don’t show up, so more have to be trained. Surprisingly, the County Manager did not ask for an open records request; she even said she did not need another request, she would just forward the information.
Q: How many counties in Georgia select their Board of Elections by Grand Jury? A: She defered to the County Attorney, but her understanding was that a state statute requires that.
Ms. Grant said she had the same understanding, but there were slight differences in each county.
The County Chairman said he didn’t know about the other counties, but he was certain that she could go onto those counties’ websites and get that information.
11. Meeting Adjournment
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall thanked Commissioners for voting to honor Veterans Day. Then they adjourned.
Here’s a LAKE video playlist:
Videos: Comprehensive Plan, rezonings, tower, Hospital Authority, elections @ LCC 2021-11-09
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).
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