Category Archives: Law

Finances and Okefenokee Swamp @ SGRC 2021-12-09

Here are LAKE videos of (most of) yesterday’s Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) Council meeting yesterday in Pearson, Georgia.

For some of the items, I have included photographs of the first sheet of the relevant handout(s). For the rest of each handout, please contact SGRC.

Thanks to SGRC Council Chair Joyce Evans and Assistant Director Chris Strom for inviting me to come speak about the Okefenokee Swamp in my other hat as Suwannee Riverkeeper; see the WWALS blog post.

[Collage]
Collage: Audit; New member John Clayton (Nashville); DCA Small Cities Conference; Okefenokee Swamp Resolutions –Suwannee Riverkeeper; Jody Redding, GA Gov. Field Rep.

Here is the complete agenda. Continue reading

Videos: Comprehensive Plan, rezonings, tower, Hospital Authority, elections @ LCC 2021-11-09

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.

The only things taking longer than three minutes were the County Manager’s Report and Citizens Wishing to Be Heard about how the Board of Elections is appointed and funded.

[Comprehensive Plan, Communications Tower, Manager's Report, Electios]
Comprehensive Plan, Communications Tower, Manager’s Report, Electios

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.

Okefenokee resolution, Planning Commission, Airport, Sewer system, Road renaming moratorium @ VCC 2021-11-11

With a packed agenda, the Valdosta City Council passed eight resolutions, approved five bids or purchases, and appointed people to four boards, yet the longest discussion was after all that.

[Mayor, Howard, Gibbs, WWTP, Manager & Tooley, Suwannee Riverkeeper]
Mayor, Howard, Gibbs, WWTP, Manager & Tooley, Suwannee Riverkeeper

Perhaps the most far-reaching item was one of the briefest, presented by Mayor Scott James Matheson: 3.f. Resolution in Opposition to a proposed strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, opposing the proposed Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) strip mine or any others within ten miles of the Swamp, asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse its abdication of oversight, asking GA-EPD for a moratorium on all mining permits until effects are settled of the recent court overruling of 2020 Clean Water Act changes, as well as to reject the TPM permits, or at least to review those applications as thoroughly as the Army Corps would, and asking the Georgia legislature to prevent such strip mines near the Swamp or any blackwater rivers in the Suwannee River Basin. Continue reading

Videos: One Valdosta-Lowndes, Troupville River Camp, Hospital Authority re-appointment, Godfrey rezoning, VAWA staffing @ LCC 2021-11-08

By far the longest item at 33 minutes at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session was a presentation about One Valdosta-Lowndes (OVL).

[OVL River Camp, Hospital Authority appointment, Godfrey rezoning, VAWA staffing]
OVL River Camp, Hospital Authority appointment, Godfrey rezoning, VAWA staffing

Second longest at almost five minutes was 8.e. Request For Cash Match Increase For VAWA ASG Salary Supplement, about the Violence Against Women Act. Third at four minutes was 7.c. REZ-2021-24 Barry Godfrey, Mt. Zion Church Road.

The likely re-appointee to the Hospital Authority did attend.

Everything else got little discussion, including the final approval of the Comprehensive Plan Update.

They voted the following Tuesday evening.

Below are LAKE videos of each agenda item, with a few notes, followed by

Comprehensive Plan approval, Hospital Authority re-appointment, 3 small rezonings, AT&T cell tower, Regional Transit, LMIG Restriping, Budget Calendar, Second Harvest, Code Red @ LCC 2021-11-08

The Lowndes County Commission will probably re-appoint Ben Copeland to the Hospital Authority, and approve three rezonings, only one (REZ-2021-24 Barry Godfrey) apparently controversial, as well as an AT&T telecommunications tower, Tuesday evening after hearing them Monday morning.

The item with the biggest effect is the 2021 Comprehensive Plan Adoption.

[REZ-2021-24 Barry Godfrey, Mt. Zion Church Road; TWR-2021-01 CitySwitch II, LLC, Bemiss Road, New 265' Telecommunications Tower]
REZ-2021-24 Barry Godfrey, Mt. Zion Church Road; TWR-2021-01 CitySwitch II, LLC, Bemiss Road, New 265′ Telecommunications Tower

The big ticket near-term item is for roads, 2021 LMIG Safety Action Plan Restriping.

Cost What
$281,529.502021 LMIG Safety Action Plan Restriping
$32,266.00Request for Cash Match Increase for VAWA ASG Salary Supplement
$31,500.00Code Red Annual Renewal
$345,295.50Total

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

For the Comprehensive Plan, see 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.

For the rezonings and the telecommunications tower, see also the LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission meeting.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

  1. Call to Order Continue reading

Code Enforcement Appreciation and new Tourism Authority Director @ LCC Regular Session 2021-09-14

At the recent Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, County Manager Paige Dukes in her Reports mentioned many then-upcoming events, two of which are still coming, and may be of public interest:

  • 2021-09-21, 4:30 PM, at Georgia Beer Co.: Meet and greet for new Executive Director, David DiSalvo, of Valdosta-Lowndes Conference Center and Tourism Authority. https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-j-disalvo-9048b24
  • 2021-09-28, 6PM, in Commission Chambers: Comp Plan stakeholder meeting just after next LCC meeting, Most recent draft of Comprehensive Plan was on Commissioners’ desks; is available electronically (where?).

None of these events are on the lowndescounty.com online calendar.

[Code Enforcement, RV Sales, Reports, End time]
Code Enforcement, RV Sales, Reports, End time

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also Continue reading

Videos: Potential litigation, Millage, Hightower Road, Bellsouth, Val Del Estates, 911, Alapaha Plantation, Manhole Emergency, Private Roads, Alcohol * 2 @ LCC Work 2021-08-23

The Lowndes County Commission votes tonight at 5:30 PM, after minimal discussion yesterday morning.

At the end of yesterday morning’s Work Session, County Manager Paige Dukes asked for an Executive Session to discuss pending litigation, plus a bigger than usual room to meet in, due to wanting many department heads there.

Earlier, Chairman Bill Slaughter asked to add an agenda item for sale of real property to the Industrial Authority. There was no discussion of this item, simply the addition of the item to the agenda for the voting session. Apparently all the commissioners know all about this from some executive session. The public knows nothing.

Also, Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker asked to move the two millage adoption items to the end of the agenda for tonight.

The only thing they spent more than two minutes on was 5.h. Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center. 5.h. Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and the board packet.

Videos: Building Valdosta Subdivision and The Landings on Val Del Road, Moody AFB water & wastewater, Reports @ LCC Work 2021-07-12

Two weeks ago at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session, by far the longest item at almost seven minutes was 6.b. REZ-2021-09 Building Valdosta Subdivision (0070 018), R-A to R-21. It fronts on Val Del Road, but has no county water and sewer. Commissioner Scottie Orenstein wanted to know about the two creeks that run through it: see the notes below on the item.

6.d. REZ-2021-11 The Landings (PD Amendment), Val Del Road (0071 056) got two and a half minutes.

The County Manager Reports was almost as long.

The whole meeting still only took 23 minutes.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda, the board packet on the LAKE website due to a LAKE open records request, and the Minutes.


[Rezonings, Juvenile Justice, Moody AFB water & wastewater]
Rezonings, Juvenile Justice, Moody AFB water & wastewater

Boards * 2, Rezonings * 4, Moody AFB wastewater @ LCC 2021-07-12

A third of a million dollars will be decided Tuesday by the Lowndes County Commission, after review at its Monday morning Work Session.

However, the items that will cause a chronic drain on county resources, including the school district, are not shown as having any “BUDGET IMPACT”: the four rezonings, especially the two 60+ acre subdivisions.

Cost What
$153,738.00Bid for a Fuel Truck for the Public Works Department
$165,427.00Acceptance of FY22 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant
$319,165.00Total

[Bethany Drive, Val Del Road, Wild Adventures]
Bethany Drive, Val Del Road, Wild Adventures

The board packet, received in response to a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-07-11–lcc-packet

See also the agenda.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, JULY 12, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, JULY 13, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

  1. Call to Order
  2. Invocation
  3. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  4. Minutes for Approval
    1. Work Session – June 21, 2021 & Regular Session – June 22, 2021
  5. Appointments
    1. Valdosta Lowndes County Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals

      Documents:Valdosta Lowndes County Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals -.pdf

    2. South Georgia Regional Library Board

      Documents:South Georgia Regional Library Board (2).pdf

  6. Public Hearing
    1. REZ-2021-08 O'Neal Properties, 2547 US HWY 84 W (0089 095/094), R-21 to C-H, Well & Septic, 4.53 Acres

      Documents:REZ-2021-08 ONeal Properties, 2547 US HWY 84 W.pdf

    2. REZ-2021-09 Building Valdosta Subdivision (0070 018), R-A to R-21, Community Well & Septic, ~64.84 acres

      Documents:REZ-2021-09 Building Valdosta Subdivision.pdf

    3. REZ-2021-10 Wombles, Lineberger Road (0091 037), E-A to R-A, Well & Septic, 6.0 acres

      Documents:REZ-2021-10 Wombles, Lineberger Road.pdf

    4. REZ-2021-11 The Landings (PD Amendment), Val Del Road (0071 056), County Water & Sewer, ~65 acres

      Documents:REZ-2021-11 The Landings (PD Amendment), Val Del Road.pdf

    5. Street Lighting Ordinance Amendment 7

      Documents:Street Lighting Ordinance Amendment 7.pdf

    6. Beer and Wine License – Jonathan Vigue with HFE Valdosta, LLC., DBA Wild Adventures Theme Park – 3766 Old Clyattville Rd., Valdosta, GA

      Documents:Beer and Wine License – Jonathan Vigue with HFE Valdosta, LLC., DBA Wild Adventures Theme Park – 3766 Old Clyattville Rd., Valdosta, GA.pdf

  7. For Consideration
    1. Acceptance of FY22 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant

      Documents:Acceptance of FY22 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant.pdf

    2. Moody Air Force Base Water & Wastewater Contract Renewal

      Documents:Moody Air Force Base Water and Wastewater Contract Renewal.pdf

  8. Bid
    1. Bid for a Fuel Truck for the Public Works Department

      Documents:Bid for a Fuel Truck for the Public Works Department.pdf

  9. Reports – County Manager
  10. Citizens Wishing to be Heard-Please State Your Name and Address
  11. Adjournment

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!

-jsq

Videos: Insolvent tax list tabled, Lowndes Co. Dev. Auth. Reappointments, subdivision infrastructure, wine license, radios, bottled water, trucks, clothes washers, mowers, tractors, backup generator

Two weeks ago at their May 25, 2021, Regular Session, Lowndes County Commissioners unanimously approved everything except one agenda item. They tabled Tax Commissioner Rodney V. Cain’s request to write off $437,823.30 in insolvent taxes.

Insolvent list, Tax Commissioner

At the Monday, May 24, 2021, Work Session, Cain said the insolvent taxes were because the seven-year statute of limitations had been exceeded, or property had been moved out of the county. He said Gander Mountain accounted for half of the total. (I compute that at slightly less than 40%.) This item is back on the agenda for this morning’s Work Session and voting Tuesday evening, June 8, 2021.

At that previous Work Session, Cain seemed rather vague about details such as how much might need to be written off next year. He also did not say why he had not dealt with this earlier, even though he was first elected in November 2016. (His opponent in that election, Felicia Williams, is now an appointed Tax Assessor.)

In response to questions from more than one County Commissioner, Cain did say most Tax Commissioners deal with this annually, and he plans to do that from now on.

Cain previously made statewide news for Continue reading