Category Archives: Education

Valdosta Chamber Candidate Forum 2019-10-08

Meet the Candidates 2019, organized by the Valdosta Lowndes Chamber of Commerce: no questions from the audience, but Gretchen Quarterman videoed for LAKE the few minutes each candidate for Valdosta Mayor, City Council, or Valdosta Board of Education held forth. Plus seven minutes about SPLOST, the Special Local Option Sales Tax, the only thing voters in the unincorporated parts of Lowndes County get to vote on this election season.

Mike Gudley talks about the SPLOST referendum

Below are links to each LAKE video Gretchen took, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

Continue reading

Videos: Lowndes County Board of Elections 2019-03-12

At a monthly meeting held during an election, the Lowndes County Board of Elections decided to re-open a polling station at a Valdosta State University (VSU) precinct, which hasn’t happened since 2009. The next step is for the VSU President to make a decision. Then, students, step up and staff it, and vote, please!


Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, of Lowndes County Elections Supervisor Deb Cox, with Lowndes County Board of Elections Members Ray Corbett, Carla Jordan, and Jackie Goolsby.

Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, 12 March 2019, UPDATE: ACLU to attend board of elections meeting,

VALDOSTA — The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia plans to attend the Lowndes County Board of Elections meeting Tuesday.

This comes after the ACLU sent Deb Cox, elections supervisor, a letter urging the election board to open a polling location at the Valdosta State University main campus.

Cox responded Continue reading

Annual Retreat, Valdosta Mayor and Council @ VCCSummit 2019-03-15

Not on Valdosta’s online calendar yet, but we got this email notice from City Council Tim Carroll, indicating Valdosta wastewater is first on his list to discuss. His number 4 about Internet speed and access is also of interest throughout the county and beyond. As are his other items.

All,

I hope each and everyone of you are having a great start to 2019. As we kick the year off, it is time to begin preparing for the cities annual Mayor and Council retreat.

It will be held March 15 & 16 at the Women’s Building.

When: All day, Friday-Saturday, March 15-16, 2019

Where: The Woman’s Building,
1409 N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA 31602

What: Annual Retreat, Valdosta Mayor and City Council


The Woman’s Bulding

My current list includes: Continue reading

Videos: New Officers, Education, Religion, Commerce @ GLPC 2018-11-26

The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) picked a new Chair and Vice-Chair at their November 2018 meeting. They meet again this evening.

Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, of New GLPC Chair Vicky Rountree 3. CU-2018-13 Scintilla Charter Academy 2171 East Park Avenue,
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, of New GLPC Chair Vicky Rountree.

Their longest item was 3. CU-2018-13 Scintilla Charter Academy‘s request to expand from an Elementary School to add a Middle School. GLPC recommended approval unanimously, as they did for all other such items.

Below are Continue reading

Education, Religion, Commerce @ GLPC 2018-11-26

Scintilla Charter Academy wants to expand, as does New Harvest United Methodist Church, plus a family subdividing and another going commercial, all in Valdosta.

Parcel 0072 198, Map
Lowndes County Tax Assessors, Parcel 0072 198, 3911 N Hwy 41.

In Lowndes County, West Hill Properties wants an acre zoned commercial between Old US 41 N and Stewart Circle. Gretchen will be at the Planning Commission tonight with the LAKE video camera.

Here’s the agenda.

Greater Lowndes Planning Commission
Lowndes County City of Valdosta City of Dasher City of Hahira City of Lake Park
REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING
AGENDA

Monday, November 26, 2018 * 5:30 P.M. * Public Hearing
Lowndes County South Health District Administrative Office
325 West Savannah Avenue

Continue reading

Neighbors oppose Val Del rezoning @ LCC 2018-10-09

If not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, nor with the water and sewer growth plan, fire and rescue doesn’t want it, and the Planning Commission recommended rejecting it, what does it take for the Lowndes County Commission to reject a zoning, in this case for REZ-2018-17 for The Settlement North, 5999 Val Del Road?

Five hands go up, REZ-2018-17

Only three people were allowed to speak against, of the five whose hands went up.

The developer promised restrictive covenants enforced by nobody but the homeowners. County-imposed conditions on the Nelson Hill development, also on Val Del, were largely waived by county staff without public hearings. What promises should we believe?

Will the developer’s demand to ignore the Comprehensive Plan because of “market conditions, supply and demand” prevail? Do property values of neighbors not matter? How about saddling the county school system with houses priced too low for property taxes on them to cover expenses of sending school buses? Or is profit for a few all that matters?

See the Continue reading

Lowndes County rolled back millage @ LCC 2018-08-17

As Lowndes County Finance Director Stephanie Black always reminds everybody, of the total 8.814 county millage, 1 mil goes to the Development Authority, and 1.25 mils to Valdosta-Lowndes Parks and Recreational Authority. Here is a table from the PDF of her presentation slides.

Property Tax Example
City of Valdosta ResidentUnincorporated Resident
Property Value$200,000$200,000
Assessed Value (40%)$80,000$80,000
Homestead Exemption$(6,000)$(6,000)
Net Taxable Base$74,000$74,000
Tax Calculation:
Lowndes County — 8.814 PY 8.974$652$652
Development Authority — 1.00$74$74
Parks
& Recreation Authority — 1.25$93$93
Lowndes County Schools — 16.541 PY 16.839$1,224
City of Valdosta — 8.001 PY 8.001$592
Valdosta City Schools — 16.980 PY 16.980$1,257
Total Estimated Taxes$2,668$2,043

Since she made that table, Valdosta actually lowered its millage to 7.916, which in the above example would mean $50.32 less per year, for an example of how little difference these minor millage rollbacks or increases actually mean to taxpayers. The Valdosta Board of Education wants to increase its tax rate (but not its millage).

Last year the Lowndes County Commission voted on the millage during a Regular Session, Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

This year Continue reading

Where you at, onevaldostalowndes.com?

Well, they spelled that wrong, as “Where are we now?” Maybe for the video narrator from California who showed a picture of lily pads when he said “River”.

Rivers, Video

Vision, Website But to be fair, this website and the video from the Development Authority organized by VisionFirst whom Lowndes County paid $25,000, presumably matching Valdosta, also adopted by SGRC, does work hard to show a positive vision of the local area. Oops, I forgot the hospital and the Chamber, and, most importantly, Georgia Power, listed in the FAQ:

Who is the leading the effort? Continue reading

Videos: Day 2, Planning, Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2018-02-20

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.

Below are links to each LAKE video of Day 2, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of Day 1 and Continue reading

Model Solar Ordinance Public Workshop, Tifton, GA 2018-03-12

A few years ago, a doctor in Valdosta applied for a variance for solar panels over his parking lot. The Zoning Board of Approvals (ZBOA) tabled it, because Valdosta’s Land Development Regulations (LDR) did not permit that. I think he then made the panels connected to his building, which put them a different and already-permitted category.

What if Valdosta and other local governments updated their codes to enable parking lot and other solar power?

When:

4-6PM Monday, March 12, 2018

Where: National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Library (NESPAL)
2356 Rainwater Road, Tifton, GA 31793

Event: eventbrite

What: “The Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and University of Georgia have come together to develop a model solar zoning ordinance to provide county and city officials and other decision-makers in Georgia access to best practices and a common baseline from which to work. We will produce a comprehensive document that addresses multiple scales and types of solar energy systems that counties and cities can adopt and adapt to their needs.”

Georgia 2017-01, Maps

More about the event: Continue reading