Category Archives: LCBOE

ESPLOST yes way ahead

ESPLOST will win by 4 to 1. Going not very far out on a limb, with only 3 of 9 precincts reporting, but with 79+ yes to 20% no at 8:30 PM, I predict ESPLOST will win. Oops, make that 7 of 9 precincts; changed while I was writing this.

600x137 Bar graph: 79+% yes 20% no, in ESPLOST wins, by John S. Quarterman, 17 March 2015

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Videos: ESPLOST V kickoff meeting @ ESPLOST 2015-02-24

Co-Chair Jerome Tucker emphasized that ESPLOST helping public schools also helps economic development. See below for who we now know are the committee members for the Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST). It’s mysterious why that information wasn’t in the PR before the meeting, but now we know, since Gretchen went and took the videos and collected the flyers you’ll find below.

Early voting already started that same day and continues through March 13th, with the final Election Day 17 March 2015.

600x450 Crowd picture, in ESPLOST Kickoff and Press Conference, by Gretchen Quarterman, 24 February 2015

Lowndes/Valdosta Citizens for Excellence in Education
Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax
For Lowndes County Schools and Valdosta City Schools Continue reading

ESPLOST V kickoff meeting today @ ESPLOST 2015-02-24

A committee of unknown members is holding a kickoff meeting today for the Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax. Various local news media carry the announcement below, but none of them seem to have the names of the committee members beyond one co-chair. I guess we’ll find out from the videos Gretchen is going there now to take.

In the City of Valdosta’s In The City This Week, Feb. 23-28,

Feb. 24: ESPLOST V Campaign. The ESPLOST joint committee will host a campaign kickoff on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 5 p.m., in the Valdosta City Hall Annex Multi-Purpose Room. At the meeting, committee members will share proposed projects for Lowndes County and Valdosta City Schools with citizens. Early voting runs Feb. 23 through March 13. The final opportunity to vote will be on the official Election Day, March 17. For more information, email Co-Chair John Eunice at jleunice@yahoo.com.

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Oppose reducing sales tax funding to local goverments –Lowndes County Board of Education against HB 170

According to Terri Welden at the Lowndes County School Superintendent’s office just now, the Lowndes County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution against HB 170 last night. It reads in part:

WHEREAS, this Board urges the members of the Georgia General Assembly and our local delegation to strongly oppose any provision or measure to reduce allocation of sales tax funding to local governments;

Here’s the entire LCBOE resolution, which is quite similar to the ones passed that same night by the Valdosta Board of Education and the Valdosta City Council. What will the Lowndes County Commission do at its meeting tonight that still doesn’t even have HB 170 on its agenda? Continue reading

HB 170 would have a devastating effect on our community –Valdosta Board of Education

The Valdosta Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution against HB 170 last night and forwarded it to the local legislative delegation via email and on paper, according to Joy at the Valdosta School Superintendent’s office just now.

Not surprisingly, VBOE’s resolution looks a lot like the City of Valdosta’s resolution. Both were written before yesterday’s changes to HB 170, which still pit counties against cities.

The Lowndes County Board of Education unanimously passed a similar resolution also last night.

What will the Lowndes County Commission do tonight? And what will the Lowndes County Board of Education do Thursday?

Here’s the Rationale in the yesterday’s VBOE agenda:

HB170 has been introduced this legislative session. It proposes to remove the local tax on fuel and replace it with a tax at the distributor level which would be paid to the state. For Valdosta City Schools this would mean a reduction in revenue of approximately $1.8 million annually from ESPLOST. The total loss of revenue for the city and county governments and the city and county school districts would be approximately $12 million annually. If passed, this bill would have a devastating effect on our community.

And here’s the resolution: Continue reading

HB 170: counties vs. cities? @ LCC 2015-02-10

Yesterday a Georgia House subcommittee did exactly what Valdosta urged it not to do about distributing HB 170 funds. Given that LMIG mismatch between cities and counties to replace the previous mismatch of forced double taxation on cities and counties, is the legislature trying to cause dissension between counties and their cities, or is it just that inept? We know Valdosta’s position. What will the Lowndes County Commission do?

Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson wrote to bill’s sponsor: Continue reading

HB 170 voted out of subcommittee; what will Lowndes County Commission do? @ LCC 2015-02-06

How long will the Lowndes County government and ACCG wait to act, while the Georgia legislature moves on its stealth transportation tax hike for Atlanta that would defund local school boards and city and county governments? A House subcommittee has made some changes to the bill, but it would still force local governments to raise taxes, and it adds an unrelated repeal of an electric vehicle tax credit to its boondoggle for trucking companies and Atlanta. Do we want our local public schools to be defunded like wildlife programs were through the state’s wildlife license plate revenue tax taking? If not, now’s the time to lobby against HB 170, before the full House Transportation Committee meets Thursday. Yet there’s still nothing about HB 170 on the county’s agenda for this evening’s voting Regular Session.

Valdosta has already Continue reading

$12 million loss to local Lowndes County governments –text of Valdosta resolution against HB 170

Local schools would lose $4 million annually and local governments overall $12 million annually, 300x389 Resolution, in Resolution against  million tax local tax loss to HB 170., by City of Valdosta, 5 February 2015 because HB 170 would “re-allocate local sales tax funding from local governments to the state of Georgia”, resolved Valdosta’s Mayor and Council last Thursday. Plus HB 170 would effectively authorize “double taxation of municipal residents”, because both Lowndes County and Valdosta would have to raise property taxes, which would result in Valdosta’s citizens being taxed more twice (by both the county and the city). For how serious Valdosta considers this threat to its ability to provide services to local citizens, witness how fast this resolution got passed (within weeks after HB 170 was introduced into the legislature) compared to how long it took for Valdosta to pass a resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline (about eighteen months).

Here’s the complete text of the Valdosta resolution that passed 5 Febuary 2015. See also Valdosta’s PR about this resolution, which contains links to the evidence, and Valdosta’s letter to the sponsor of the bill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2015-3

A RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE STATE OF GEORGIA’S
TRANSPORTATION FUNDING ACT OF 2015 Continue reading

China, U.S., and Russia energy deals: bad news for Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline?

The U.S. and China made a historic deal on climate change this week. Here’s the good (it’s real, it’s huge, and it’s positive economically for both countries), the bad (nuclear is first on the list of those “clean energy” sources), and the ugly. Also this week China made a second huge natural gas deal with Russia: what does that mean to the current U.S. push for LNG exports, including the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline gouge through Georgia?

The Deal

Rebecca Leber, The New Republic, 12 November 2014, The World Has Waited for the U.S. and China to Take Action on Climate Change. They Just Did.

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Wednesday commitments to reduce both countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. The surprise announcement, which came while Obama visits Beijing this week, is the clearest sign yet the two countries are serious on climate change.

After months of negotiations Continue reading

Alternative 1: US 82 -> I-75 -> FL Turnpike FERC to Sabal Trail

After Dawson and Albany, new Georgia cities Sylvester, Tifton, Adel, Hahira, Valdosta in Georgia (right past Lowndes High School), and Jennings, Lake City, Alachua, Gainesville, Ocala, Wildwood, and Ferndale in Florida. If you thought this pipeline wouldn’t affect you, think again. Or some later pipeline if we let this one through. See also Alternative 2 (watch out, Albany!), Alternative 3 Camilla, Thomasville, Monticello, Capps and a row of north Florida counties), and Alternative 4 (Richland, Preston, Americus, Cordele, Ashburn and yet again down I-75 as in Alternative 1).

Update 2014-09-15: Added first paragraph and fixed typos.

FERC’s recent instructions direct Sabal Trail to “include analyses” of

Alternative 1 Alternative 1 extending from near MP 0 to MP 460.6 (the proposed endpoint) following the Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail) proposed Sabal Trail Project (Project) route until reaching Highway 82 near Dawson, Georgia; then following Highway 82 to Interstate 75 (I-75); then following I-75 to Highway 91 near The Villages, Florida; then following Highway 91 to Highway 27 near Ferndale, Florida; and then following a Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) pipeline to the proposed endpoint.

Here’s a very rough map of that route, and then let’s name some cities and towns thus targetted by the yard-wide fracked methane pipeline: Continue reading