Category Archives: GDOT

Videos: 3 Tax Assessors appointed, Francis Lake Warehouse $397,980, LMIG Match $133,769.41, VOCA Grant down but match up @ LCC Regular 2024-01-08

Update 2024-01-20: Packet: Appoint another Tax Assessor, Special Assessment Rate, VOCA, federal consultant @ LCC 2024-01-22.

Two weeks ago the Lowndes County Commission appointed three new Tax Assessors: Gene Felts and Thomas Reed to 3-year terms and Sandra D.S.Jones to the 4-year term. Gene Felts resigned two days later, after being sworn in but before his first Tax Assessors Meeting. They still have 12 – 3 = 9 applicants to choose from. Maybe somebody should tell them they have to take substantial hours of training after being appointed.

We the taxpayers and voters still haven’t seen the applications, which were not in that board packet. At least the appointees did show up at the meeting.

Gretchen took these LAKE videos with her iPhone. The LAKE camera is old and tired and refused to function. If anyone wants to donate so we can get a new video camera, that would be wonderful.

The added agenda item, 6.f. 412-416 North Lee Street Purchase, was apparently the result of the Executive Session in the same morning’s Work Session.

The Commissioners unanimously approved everything else with little discussion.

There was a weather report by EMA Director Ashley Tye.

[Collage @ LCC Regular 8 January 2024]
Collage @ LCC Regular 8 January 2024

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few comments by Gretchen Quarterman, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

See also Continue reading

Videos: 12 applicants for 3 Tax Assessors, Francis Lake Warehouse $397,980, LMIG Match $133,769.41, VOCA Grant down but match up @ LCC Work 2024-01-08

Update 2024-01-20: Videos: 3 Tax Assessors appointed, Francis Lake Warehouse $397,980, LMIG Match $133,769.41, VOCA Grant down but match up @ LCC Regular 2024-01-08.

Even the County Commissioners did not get to see the applications of those who applied to be Tax Assessors; not unless they trouped upstairs and asked the County Clerk.

County Manager Paige Dukes read off the dozen names of applicants and added, “Ms. Lovern has their appointment sheets in her office.” Commissioner and Vice Chair Demarcus Marshall said he wanted to see their appplications; he noted Amy Carter is a former state legislator. Chairman Bill Slaughter said “Certainly if you would like to look at those applications, you’ve got those that you can go through.” He did offer to ask Ms. Lovern to call the applicants and ask them to show up at the Regular Session.

Why the secrecy is mysterious. So far as I know, they’re the same application forms everybody fills out to apply for any board or authority. They contain the same kind of information people put on LinkedIn or even facebook, and they are usually included in the board packet, but not this time.

The County Manager said two of the Tax Assessors posts will be 3-year terms, and the third will be a 4-year term, to keep terms staggered.

[Collage @ LCC 8 January 2024]
Collage @ LCC 8 January 2024

The new Vice Chair of the Lowndes County Commission is Demarcus Marshall. Chairman Bill Slaughter thanked Mark Wisenbaker for doing that for the past year, presiding at meetings when the Chair was absent.

Demarcus Marshall wanted to know Continue reading

Packet: 12 applicants for 3 Tax Assessors, Francis Lake Warehouse $397,980, LMIG Match $133,769.41, VOCA Grant down but match up @ LCC 2024-01-08

Update 2024-01-20: LAKE videos of the Work Session 2024-01-08.

The board packet for last week’s Lowndes County Commission meetings does not include any further information about the dozen applicants to be Tax Assessors beyond their names that were in the agenda.

This is odd, since for every other board or authority, application sheets are usually included in the board packet.

We do learn what roads the county plans to resurface with the LMIG grant. Also confirmation in writing that $123,523.13 is the amount of the required 10% LMIG match.

[Collage @ LCC Packet 2024-01-08]
Collage @ LCC Packet 2024-01-08

The board packet, received in response to a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website.

See also the agenda.

There are more images below.

-jsq

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!
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/donate

Continue reading

Agenda: 12 applicants for 3 Tax Assessors, Francis Lake Warehouse $397,980, LMIG Match $133,769.41, VOCA Grant down but match up @ LCC 2024-01-08

Update 2024-01-14: Packet: 12 applicants for 3 Tax Assessors, Francis Lake Warehouse $397,980, LMIG Match $133,769.41, VOCA Grant down but match up @ LCC 2024-01-08.

The Lowndes County Commission will hold both meetings Monday: the Work Session at 8:30 AM, and the voting Regular Session at 5:30 PM.

[Collage @ LCC 2024-01-08]
Collage @ LCC 2024-01-08

They will choose from a dozen applicants to fill three Tax Assessors positions:

In December 2023, the Board of Commissioners expanded the Board of Tax Assessors from three to five members. In addition, the initial three-year term of James Puckett ended December 31, 2023. Accordingly, the Board of Commissioners needs to make three appointments to the Board of Tax Assessors:

  • one to succeed James Puckett to complete a three-year term ending December 31, 2026
  • one to fill a new position to complete an initial three-year term ending December 31, 2026
  • one to fill a new position to complete an initial four-year term ending December 31, 2027

David Westberry, Samuel Clemons, Mike Tanner, Lucinda Guess, Mary Ellen Weeks, Elizabeth Highsmith, Sandra Jones, Richard Holcombe, Mary Green, Gene Felts, Amy Carter, and Thomas Reed have all expressed a desire to be appointed to the Board of Tax Assessors.

OPTIONS: 1. Make appointments and approve completion and execution of attached Orders as applicable
2. Board’s pleasure

It is hard to tell who many of these people are, for example there are several Amy Carters hereabouts. The county did not include the applications with the agenda.

We also don’t know what the “attached Orders” are, since they were not included with the agenda.

The BUDGET IMPACT is given as N/A for 2024 Georgia Department of Transportation Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) Application . But the agenda sheet says, “Lowndes County has been allocated $1,337,694.10 for FY 2024. As a part of this grant program, Lowndes County will be responsible for a minimum 10% match in local funding.”

Seems to me 10% of $1,337,694.10 is $133,769.41. Continue reading

Videos: Hurricane assistance, Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC Regular 2023-09-26

Andrew Toussaint gave a report about the Small Business Administration and EMA Director Ashley Tye gave reports on hurricane assistance and local disaster group COAD, in this Lowndes County Commission Regular Session of September 26, 2023. Because of those reports and a second recognition of Leadership Lowndes (they showed up late), the meeting took 49 minutes.

[Collage @ LCC 26 September 2023]
Collage @ LCC 26 September 2023

Like the previous morning, Commissioners were unusually chatty.

Commissioner Scottie Orenstein had some questions and comments about 5.a. Quiet Pines Golf Course Ezgo Golf Cart Lease Agreement. and 5.b. Mental Health Model Resolution for ACCG. Commissioners Clay Griner, Demarcus Marshall, County Manager Paige Dukes, and Chairman Bill Slaughter discussed which statehouse bills the mental health resolution mentions, and that it does not support any particular current bill, specifically not HB 520. They passed the resolution unanimously. Continue reading

Packet: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25

Update 2023-09-10: Videos: Hurricane assistance, Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC Regular 2023-09-26

It turns out the board packet for today’s Lowndes County Commission meeting contained little or nothing beyond the one-page agenda sheets for the four Bid items.

[Collage, LCC Packet, 2023-09-25]
Collage, LCC Packet, 2023-09-25

So you actually learn more about those items from the LAKE post with the agenda and bid documents.

In the Minutes for the Work Session of September 11 and for the Regular Session of September 12, about REZ-2023-04 Chase, 6119 Quarterman Road, the LAKE letter is only alluded to as “a report from the opposition” in this passage: Continue reading

Videos: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC Work 2023-09-25

Update 2023-09-26: Packet: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25.

Lowndes County Commissioners were unusually chatty in yesterday morning’s Work Session, about 5.b. Mental Health Model Resolution for ACCG, in which they sounded like prison reform advocates.

[Collage @ LCC 25 September 2023]
Collage @ LCC 25 September 2023

Also about 6.a. Grove Point Lift Station Access Road, 5.c. Purchase of Wetland Credits for Shiloh Road Bridge Project, and 5.a. Quiet Pines Golf Course Ezgo Golf Cart Lease Agreement.

They had no questions about the almost $4 million dollar item, 6.b. TIA 2023-05 Briggston Road Grading, Drainage, Base, and Paving Bids, which leads to Wild Adventures.

See below for more notes on those items, with the LAKE videos of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

See also the agenda and bid documents.

We have not yet received a response to the LAKE open records request for the board packet.

Sure, I only sent that request Sunday. But it is stil mysterious why Lowndes County does not put its board packets on its own website, like many counties smaller and larger in Georgia and Florida have been doing for years. Continue reading

Agenda: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25

Update 2023-09-26: Videos: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC Work 2023-09-25.

This week the Lowndes County Commission proposes to authorize spending $4.5 million on road projects, plus golf carts for the Quiet Pine Golf Course at Moody AFB that the county now operates.

[Collage @ LCC Agenda 2023-09-25]
Collage @ LCC Agenda 2023-09-25

The biggest project at almost four million dollars is TIA 2023-05 Briggston Road Grading, Drainage, Base, and Paving Bids, leading from Madison Highway to Old Clyattville Road, where you will find Wild Adventures.

Cost What
$3,892,229.54TIA 2023-05 Briggston Road Grading, Drainage, Base, and Paving Bids
$240,119.00Fire Rescue Station 10 Pavement Resurfacing Bids
$222,377.49Grove Point Lift Station Access Road
$194,166.66NC-TIA 2023-01 Rocky Hill Church Road Grading, Drainage, Base, and Paving Bids
$85,440.00Purchase of Wetland Credits for Shiloh Road Bridge Project
$50,160.00Quiet Pines Golf Course Ezgo Golf Cart Lease Agreement
$4,684,492.69Total

Perhaps a longer search would find information on the county website about the Purchase of Wetland Credits for Shiloh Road Bridge Project. At least we can say what it is a bridge (or box culvert) over: Big Creek, which runs into Franks Creek, which ends up in the Little River.

[Shiloh Road Bridge in WLRWT]
Shiloh Road Bridge in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

However, the Lowndes County Finance Department has a Bids web page that leads to specifics on each bid, including for the Grove Point Lift Station, Briggston Road, Rocky Hill Church Road, and Fire Rescue Station 10 projects. Three of them include a location map and engineering drawings. The exception is for Fire Station 10, but its Bid Documents do reveal the location of that fire station: 2981 US Hwy 84 East, Valdosta, Georgia.

Copies of all these documents and images of their pages are on the LAKE website.

We do not have a copy of the board packet, because I forgot to send the open records request.

Although it is still mysterious why the board packet is not on the county’s webiste where they have an option “packet” that only produces the agenda and an agenda sheet for each item.

Here is the agenda.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2023, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2023, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Videos: Dollar General rezoning legally must be tabled, Troupville land purchase is for a park @ LCC 2022-12-12

Update 2022-12-18: Correspondence: Proposed Rezoning on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road 2022-12-12.

County Manager Paige Dukes said they are legally required to table the rezoning for a Dollar General, because they were a day late on getting notices out, although she twice blamed that on the Valdosta Daily Times.

[Collage @ LCC 12 December 2022]
Collage @ LCC 12 December 2022

County Chairman Bill Slaughter said the applicant had requested tabling, and he recommended the second meeting in January (January 24, 2023). Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know why. The Chairman said, “It works out for two of the parties involved, the county and the developer.” (Nevermind the people.) Commissioner Scottie Orenstein said “I’m not in favor of tabling something only to give the developer more time… If he has true intentions on meeting with the community and having a meeting with them, a town hall, something a little more official, then I’m OK with that. But not to just give them more time.” The Chairman disagreed, “Well, I don’t think time is going to resolve anything in this particular situation.” Plus regarding the applicant, “We’re here to give them the courtesy if they make a request through that application process.”

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted clarified that the main issue was the date issue. Alleged County Attorney G. Walter Elliott reminded them they have to vote to table (the Chairman cannot just unilaterally table).

Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know if the Planning Commission knew about the timing issue. Continue reading

Packet: Dollar General may be tabled @ LCC 2022-12-12

Update 2022-12-12: Videos: Dollar General rezoning legally must be tabled, Troupville land purchase is for a park @ LCC 2022-12-12.

Update 2022-12-12: Lowndes County to purchase land for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp @ LCC 2022-12-13.

Update 2022-12-10: Fixed my number dyslexia in the dates.

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter tells me the applicant for the Dollar General at GA 122 & Skipper Bridge Road (REZ-2022-20 Teramore Development) has requested tabling until a later meeting. Bill says he intends to table it until the second January 2023 meeting. So that’s January 25 24, 2023. He asked me to tell people that.

If I were you, I would show up this Tuesday, December 12 13th, anyway, so they see you are watching. Also, the agenda has not yet changed, and the item has not yet been tabled.

[Second meeting in January 2023]
Second meeting in January 2023

In any case, keep them letters, telephone calls, and petition signatures going in. Ask them to hold the public hearing and then just vote to deny it instead of tabling it.

For anyone tuning in late, here’s why: https://wwals.net/?p=60348

The board packet, received in response to a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website. The county did not send letters from citizens to Commissioners or staff about the Dollar General rezoning, even though those were specifically part of the request.

See also the agenda.

-jsq

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!