Category Archives: Safety

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: VLDA appointment, VAWA Grant, Cross Connection Control Plan, Jail Addition, Code Red, 911 addition @ LCC Regular 2023-11-14

Last month, they unanimously approved everything, with little discussion, in the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, November 14, 2023. They were all present.

The entire meeting took twelve minutes, including the 3-minute County Manager’s Report.

[Collage @ LCC 14 November 2023]
Collage @ LCC 14 November 2023

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

See also:

And now the LAKE videos of the Regular Session: Continue reading

Videos: VLDA appointment, VAWA Grant, Cross Connection Control Plan, Jail Addition, Code Red, 911 addition @ LCC Work 2023-11-13

Update 2023-12-11 Videos: VLDA appointment, VAWA Grant, Cross Connection Control Plan, Jail Addition, Code Red, 911 addition @ LCC Regular 2023-11-14.

Several of the Lowndes County Commissioners were absent at yesterday morning’s Work Session.

[Collage @ LCC 13 November 2023]
Collage @ LCC 13 November 2023

The Commissioners who were present breezed through the agenda in a few minutes. Joyce Evans, Scottie Orenstein, Clay Griner, and Chairman Bill Slaughter had no questions on any item. Commissioners Demarcus Marshall and Mark Wisenbaker were not present.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes by Gretchen Quarterman, followed by a LAKE video playlist. Actually, she did not make any notes this time. And I did not hear anything new in the videos.

See also the agenda. Continue reading

GT’s Wrecker Service rezoning denied @ LCC Regular 2023-10-10

Why do people apply for rezonings and then not show up to speak for them? But first, unscheduled items.

[Collage @ LCC 10 October 2023]
Collage @ LCC 10 October 2023

Chairman Bill Slaughter asked for an update on boat ramp improvements, and County Engineering Services Director Chad McLeod said he would provide that in a future meeting. That would be great, because there is much room for improvement at Clyattville-Nankin Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River and Folsom Bridge Landing on the Little River.

The other unscheduled item was the usual Chairman recognition of Leadership Lowndes and Youth Leadership. Why they don’t just put that on the agenda is mysterious.

Nobody spoke for, and one spoke against 6.b. REZ-2023-12 GT’S Wrecker Service Old Clyattville Rd,~3.2ac, C-H to M-2, with no rebuttal. Commisioners discussed it at some length (more than 11 minutes total). They seemed especially concerned that county staff would be stuck with inspecting to enforce the numerous conditions. Commissioners unanimously voted to deny.

This is similar to last month, when nobody spoke for the Quarterman Road rezoning, several spoke against people and a petition from many more people were against it, and it was unanimously denied, while someone spoke very briefly for the other rezoning in that meeting and it was unanimously approved. Maybe in both denied cases, last month and this month, the applicant saw the handwriting on the wall?

The applicant did speak for the other rezoning this time, 6.a. REZ-2023-11 2426 Joanna Drive, C-C(c) to R-1, 4.0ac, Well – Septic, nobody spoke against, nobody wanted to rebut, and Commissioners unanimously approved it.

They also unanimously approved everything else, including the numerous agreements with ABM, while never explaining who ABM is nor when they made the original agreement.

Second longest item was County Manager Paige Duke’s Report, in which she revealed that they only do their annual river cleanup because it is required by their NPDES Stormwater permit. She said since the county litter crew has been on the job for two years, there is not much to pick up at the boat ramps. She asked the state if they could “move to a different type of awareness event”. The state did not think that was a good idea, so they will continue with “our river cleanup”. “We will do that with our employees and any citizens that would like to participate.”

No mention of the City of Valdosta, which is supposedly co-sponsoring that event.

No mention of WWALS, which was not contacted in planning that event. WWALS already had scheduled since August a Langdale Park Withlacoochee River Cleanup 2023-10-20.

Unlike the previous morning’s Work Session, when three Commissioners were absent, they all showed up for this Regular Session. And it was Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker’s 72nd birthday.

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

See also Continue reading

Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09

Update 2023-10-15: GT’s Wrecker Service rezoning denied @ LCC Regular 2023-10-10.

The HVAC agreement includes 38 pages of covered buildings and rooms within them, ranging from several sites in Hahira to the wastewater treatment plant near the GA-FL line.

The materials received from Lowndes County in response to an open records request are on the LAKE website. Lowndes County says they sent the packet Saturday. It did not appear in LAKE’s email then, so apparently there was some sort of transmission error. In any case it is here now.

It will be easier for everyone when Lowndes County starts putting its board packets on its own websites, like many counties larger and smaller in Georgia and Florida have been doing for years.

See also:

[Collage @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09]
Collage @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09

-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

Videos: Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Work 2023-10-09

Update 2023-10-10: Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09.

The two special presentations only took about six minutes total, and most other items took half a minute each, so the entire Lowndes County Commission Work Session only took fourteen minutes yesterday.

Lowndes County Fire Chief Billy Young opened the check from Colquitt EMC after the meeting: it was for $35,000.

Only Commissioners Joyce Evans and Mark Wisenbaker and Chairman Bill Slaughter attended. Commissioners Scottie Orenstein, Demarcus Marshall, and Clay Griner were absent.

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

See also

[Collage @ LCC 9 October 2023]
Collage @ LCC 9 October 2023

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