Category Archives: Safety

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.

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

Videos: Valwood award, river gauges, Comprehensive Plan, Alcohol @ LCC Regular 2021-10-25

Update 2021-11-08: Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing 2 @ LCC 2021-10-26.

The County Manager said the Character Area Maps were not changing in the Comprehensive Plan Update, so she expected the Public Hearing Tuesday to be brief, but a quorum would be required. At the end, I thanked the Commissioners for not changing the character area maps and asked them to follow them in future rezonings.

[County Manager, PIO, Valwood Valiants, Character Area Maps]
County Manager, PIO, Valwood Valiants, Character Area Maps

The river gauge funding and the beer and wine license sailed through unanimously. The longest items were the two part Proclamation Presentation to Valwood Valiants Volleyball Team and the County Manager’s Report.

Here are links to each LAKE video of each agenda (and non-agenda) item, with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of the same morning’s Work Session, the agenda, and the board packet which we received in response to a LAKE open records request and put on the LAKE website. Some day the county will put its own board packets on its own website. Continue reading

Videos: River gauges, Lowndes County Extension Office @ LCC Work 2021-10-25

By far the longest item was the informative 7.a. Lowndes County Extension Office Presentation, at the Lownndes County Commission Work Session yesterday morning.

[River Gauges, Beer and Wine, Reports, Extension Agent]
River Gauges, Beer and Wine, Reports, Extension Agent

The river gauges and the beer and wine license took not much longer than to read the agenda items.

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 board packet, received in response to a LAKE open records request and on the LAKE website. Continue reading

Videos: Commissioner Comments, Mud Swamp Road, Fire Millage, Hightower Road, GEFA @ LCC 2021-08-24

Very unusual: two Commissioners commented at the end. Chairman Bill Slaughter had already been quite clear that the new fire department millage was to aid population growth in unincorporated parts of the county. Mark Wisenbaker thought the fire department millage was premature because it did not consider land with no structures, agricultural land, etc. He was the only Commissioner to vote against 5.l. Adoption of Unincorporated Fire Millage. Clay Griner thought it was something they could improve as they go along.

None of them mentioned that the fire millage applies to personal property as well as to real estate (land). At least one of the Commissioners was unaware of this, and, since none of them ever seem to have mentioned it to the public, I’d bet the public is unaware unless they carefully examined their property tax statements. Applying that fire millage also to personal property is apparently how they kept it as low as they announced in the millage rate hearing. Nevermind such a personal property millage falls heaviest on companies with the most personal property, which would likely be Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), commonly known as the paper mill at Clyattville. It’s not clear that companies with much personal property are the most in need of new fire services.

[Hightower Road, Fire Millage, Mud Swamp Road, Commissioner Comments]
Hightower Road, Fire Millage, Mud Swamp Road, Commissioner Comments

The County’s support of unincorporated growth apparently includes building next to wetlands, or in areas the Army Corps of Engineers recently declared not to be wetlands, since that had just been discussed by County Manager Paige Dukes and the Chairman.

I have an idea! How about build only close in to existing services, instead of sprawling farther out, where no taxes will ever pay enough for sending school buses, Sheriff, and Fire. See this report the County commissioned: The Local Government Fiscal Impacts of Land Use in Lowndes County: Revenue and Expenditure Streams by Land Use Category, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Ph.D., Dorfman Consulting, December 2007. As Dr. Dorfman summarized in a different presentation,

Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as
sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.

sprawl Trees and crops don’t call the Sheriff or the Fire Department much and don’t need school buses, but subdivisions do, so forestry and agriculture are far more cost-effective in tax collection vs. services.

Everything except the Fire Dept. millage passed unanimously. Even the late-added mystery-location 5.j. Proposed Sale of County Real Property to Industrial Authority, which came with no map, no street address, and no parcel numbers.

Here are LAKE videos of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the Continue reading

Millage Rate Hearing w. new fire millage @ LCC 2021-08-24

With the new 2.5 mil fire millage on unincorporated Lowndes County, property taxes in unincorporated Lowndes County will still be lower than in Valdosta.

The slides, presented by Finance Director Stephanie Black, were informative, although somewhat hard to read on the screen behind the Commissioners. They are not on the county’s website, and also not in the board packet.

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker asked one question, wanting to know what the total millage would be for residents in the unincorpated parts of the county. Answer: 13.1.

Nobody spoke for or against at the Millage Rate Hearing, so it took less than eleven minutes.

[Slides, Finance, Fire millage, Commission]
Slides, Finance, Fire millage, Commission

The Lowndes County Commission voted in its Regular Session 20 minutes later.

Here is the LAKE video of the Millage Public Hearing. 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.

Millage, Hightower Road, Bellsouth, Val Del Estates, 911, Alapaha Plantation, Manhole Emergency, Private Roads, Alcohol * 2 @ LCC 2021-08-23, GA-EPD

Three million dollars for discussion this morning and voting tomorrow evening at the Lowndes County Commission, including an emergency manhole repair, 911 consoles, and roads north of Moody AFB.

Plus more expenses will come from accepting two subdivision roads plus two dirt roads as county roads. And the never-ending Lake Alapaha subdivision water treatment plant, which has attracted a GA-EPD Consent Order.

The County will be reducing the overall millage rate, while adding the the unincorporated fire millage.

Cost What
$2,775,068.91TIA-03 Hightower Road and Cooper Road NE
$162,308.45Whitewater Road Manhole Emergency Repair
$155,697.00Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center
$2,520.00Approval of Lease Amendment Number Three to Bellsouth Telecommunications, LLC
$3,095,594.36Total

[Alcohol, Subdivision, Communications]
Alcohol, Subdivision, Communications

Here is the agenda. 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/2021-08-23–lcc-packet

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Videos: Water on private roads, ditches, transparency, Tourism Authority appointment, 3 rezonings, wetlands, solar, UPS, Lake Alapaha water treatment, body cameras @ LCC Regular 2021-08-10

Lowndes County apparently forgot to turn on the audio feed to the media corral in the back of the room during their August 10, 2021, Regular Session. Gretchen noticed during the 811 Day Proclamation and switched to the camera’s microphone, which was better than no audio. They did turn the audio feed back on during the approval of the Minutes.

The Lowndes County Commission has not videoed their own meetings for about a year now, despite authorizing $110,147.78 for Commission Chambers Audio and Visual Upgrade back in April with a report in July of expected total delivery in August. Meanwhile, the City of Valdosta livestreamed all their meetings during the pandemic with an iPhone.

The longest item by far at twelve minutes was 7.b. REZ-2021-12 US 84/I-75 Industrial Park – PD amendment for solar. After Attorney Jack Langdale spoke for, Gretchen Quarterman also spoke for.

REZ-2021-12 PD amendment for solar @ Lowndes County Commission 2021-09-10

Second was 10. Reports – County Manager, which includes some discussion about rural broadband funding.

Plus five Citizens Wishing to Be Heard, two about impassible private dirt roads, two others about drainage problems, and Brad Folsom: citizens request for more transparency.

It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict (as I did) that Wild Adventures Jon Vigue would be appointed to the Valdosta Lowndes Tourism Authority, since the last two appointees were also Wild Adventures GM.

Commissioners approved the 8.b. Alapaha Plantation Water Treatment Pilot Study, but there are murmurings that they are not going to do any subdivision water systems more like that.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of the preceding Monday morning Work Session, the agenda and the preceding Planning Commission meeting. The board packet, received after a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-09–lcc-packet