Most people missed a chance to ask whatever they wanted of the Valdosta City Council, without time limits or fear of ejection from the room. This town hall, hosted by Council members Andy Gibbs and Eric Howard, apparently was not announced on Valdosta’s own website nor in the Valdosta Daily Times. But Gretchen Quarterman was there for LAKE and videoed it, and provided the notes below. The few people who did attend were interested enough to take an hour and a half of their time to participate in the community and local government.
George Boston Rhynes noted that people might fear even coming to this kind of meeting, because of fear of retaliation, by being blackballed for jobs, or in other ways.
Lowndes County Commissioner Scottie Orenstein was there, and occasionally answered, as did Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll. City Council Sonny Vickers was also there.
Sidewalks were a major topic. Gretchen wondered why every street doesn’t have one. Instead, the city thinks it will improve traffic on Bemiss Road by making it wider.
Naturally, Taxes in County and City and property values were a major topic. Valdosta City Council Sandra Tooley said she thought sidewalks make property values go up, so why should the county get any of that tax money when the city paid to put the sidewalks in? Others misunderstood that, and more discussion ensued. People remain confused about how SPLOST works between city and county.
Back on transportation, a final speaker spelled out how Valdosta is not bicycle-friendly, so children can’t ride bicycles to school, students to VSU, employees to work, or people to see friends, because it is not safe. Same for Lowndes County: not safe for this healthy, family-friendly activity and transportation method. Andy Gibbs said this is one of the topics being gathered into the Parks and Rec. Master Plan, currently in progress.
Below are links to each LAKE video, followed by a LAKE video playlist. Continue reading