Category Archives: Taxes

Videos: DUI Court, Cyber Security, Road Paving, Water and Sewer, and Budget @ LCC 2022-06-27

Yesterday morning at their 11-minute Work Session the Lowndes County Commission and staff ran through everything as fast as the items could be read off.

Vice-Chair Scottie Orenstein presided in the absence of Chairman Bill Slaughter.

[Items]
Items

They vote tonight at 5:30 PM.

Below are Continue reading

Construction board appointment, Budget, DUI Court, water and sewer, TIA, and cyber security @ LCC 2022-06-27

Update 2022-06-28: Videos: DUI Court, Cyber Security, Road Paving, Water and Sewer, and Budget @ LCC 2022-06-27.

No rezonings this week, but a board appointment, budget adoption, money shuffling for the DUI Court, and two water and sewer infrastructure adoptions that, as usual, Lowndes County pretends will not cost the taxpayers money. Plus a mower for Public Works and some cyber security stuff. All at the Monday morning Work Session and the Tuesday 5:30 PM Regular Session.

[Both pages of the agenda]
Both pages of the agenda

Here is the agenda. A LAKE open records request has gone in for the board packet.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2022, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2022, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

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Videos: Process for non-profit applications for ARPA funds 2022-05-27

The Valdosta meeting about grants to non-profits from American Rescue Program Act (ARPA) funds consisted of a five-minute welcome by Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber, and a summary of the application process by Mike Smith of Valdosta United Way, followed by a half hour of questions and answers.

[Chuck Dinkins, Valdosta Finance Director, and Mike Smith, Valdosta United Way ]
Chuck Dinkins, Valdosta Finance Director, and Mike Smith, Valdosta United Way

The actual application is thirteen pages, yet is pretty straightforward.

Below are links to LAKE videos of those three segments, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also Continue reading

Process for non-profit applications for ARPA funds 2022-05-27

Update 2022-06-23: LAKE videos.

Posted yesterday on facebook and twitter, one of the committees announced a week ago is having a presentation this morning:

City of Valdosta
@CityofValdosta

Join the City of Valdosta tomorrow at 9 a.m. as we present to the community our Non-Profit Committee application process from the ARPA allocation. @greatervaldostaunitedway @valdostachamber

[Flyer, Committee members]
Flyer, Committee members

When: 9 AM, Friday, May 27, 2022

Where: Women’s Building, 1409 N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA Continue reading

Videos: Budget Work Session, Lowndes County Commission 2022-05-23

No citizens showed up other than Gretchen Quarterman, behind the LAKE video camera. Commissioners did not vote, because this is presumably the first of several Budget Hearings. Or is it? It was billed as a Work Session. Anyway, it took seventeen minutes.

[Executives and Revenue]
Executives and Revenue

County Manager Paige Dukes said Continue reading

Budget Work Session, Lowndes County Commission 2022-05-23

Update 2022-05-23: Videos: Budget Work Session, Lowndes County Commission 2022-05-23.

Appeared on lowndescounty.com/calendar a few days ago:

[Budget Work Session Notice]
Budget Work Session Notice

No agenda. No draft budget on the Finance Department web pages (the most recent is the one about to expire).

The budget meeting is after the 8:30 AM Work Session. Continue reading

Packet: DBHDD appointment, Street Lighting, Beer and Wine, Language Access Plan @ LCC 2022-02-21

Kelley Saxon wants to be reappointed, and Carlton Richard is applying for a vacant position on the board of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), on the agenda for this morning’s Lowndes County Commmission Work Session, to be voted on Tuesday evening.

[Maps: Decorative Lighting, beer and wine, Language Access Plan]
Maps: Decorative Lighting, beer and wine, Language Access Plan

Two subdivision developers want to add to their Basic Decorative Street Lighting Districts: that’s a special tax district for each.

Two beer and wine licenses are up for consideration, and a Language Access Plan and Resolution for Federally Funded Grants and Programs.

First, staff get a budget award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

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

Secrecy of Lowndes County Commission and Staff

Update 2022-02-06: Board’s Pleasure should be Deny: Miller Bridge Road rezoning @ LCC 2022-02-07.

It’s almost enough to make you wonder why the Lowndes County Commission does not want the public to know what it is doing?

A state-funded road restriping with the list of roads not revealed to the public for three months, and no minutes for the relevant meetings on the Lowndes County website (but LAKE kept a copy from their old website).

A petition with 300 signatures the County Planner just took out of the board packet so even County Commissioners did not see it.

Two board packets (for Planning and County Commission meetings) not returned for more than the statutory three days, and then one of them only partial.

No board packets on the county’s website, even though other counties larger and smaller in Georgia and Florida have been doing that for years.

No minutes (except one) before 2014, or maybe some hidden. Not even any agendas before 2012.

[Lowndes County Agenda Center for 2013]
Lowndes County Agenda Center for 2013

County Commission staff do take videos of the Commission meetings, but they only post videos of the Regular Session (not the Work Session), and not even those between October 2020 and October 2021. This is despite spending more than $100,000 for new audio visual equipment for the Commission Chambers, while the Valdosta City Council has livestreamed through the pandemic using an employee’s iPhone.

I could go on about the stealth reapportionment of Commission Districts and the half million dollar bailout of a developer, both at the same January 25, 2022, Lowndes County Commission meeting, both not revealed to the taxpaying public before the voting Regular Session.

But just items related to the Miller Bridge Road rezoning requests are enough to raise questions about the secrecy of Lowndes County Commission and staff.

Why don’t they want the public and the taxpayers to know?

What don’t they want us to know?

Road Striping

Continue reading

Videos: Stealth Commission district reapportionment and half million dollar developer giveaway @ LCC 2022-01-25

As expected, the Lowndes County Commission at its Regular Session passed the half million dollar bailout for a developer.

Not expected, they changed the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to approve new Commission district maps and a resolution supporting them, for immediate transmission to the state.

One citizen wishing to be heard spoke about the never ending noise from the 15 month old Arglass factory.

[Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts]
Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts

Developer Bailout

For 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC County Manager Paige Dukes said staff acted at the direction of the Commissioners, seeming to distance herself and staff from this action.

Reapportionment

I’m guessing the added agenda item was 5.l..

Vice Chair Joyce Evans, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Chair Bill Slaughter, introduced the agenda change for district reapportionment indicating the Commissioners all already knew this was going to happen. Continue reading

Discussion of court grants and Loch Laurel Road project, little of property subsidy @ LCC 2022-01-24

At yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session, there was no discussion by the Commissioners about 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC, but new wrinkles did come to some small light.

County Manager Paige Dukes said “This is a follow up on the Building Valdosta purchase of property we have discussed with you several times…” In what public meeting did those discussion take place? She also said the county attorney had worked out an agreement with Building Valdosta, yet that agreement was not in the board packet. And she remarked, “Any other claims related to this will continue through, um, any process with ACCG that they may have for lost profits.” She immediately called for an Executive Session for “Client-privileged communication regarding potential or pending litigation and for the purchase of property.”

Sounds like the county got sued by a developer, or was threatened with a lawsuit, and is resolving that by bailing out the developer with half a million of our tax dollars.

How can any developer who did the slightest due diligence not know that the subject property on GA 122 east of Bemiss Road is in the Moody Activity Zone (MAZ)? If that’s not their beef, what is?

[Joyce Evans presiding]
Joyce Evans presiding, VOCA/CESF grant, Loch Laurel Road project, Property Purchase — Building Valdosta, LLC

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