Category Archives: Transparency

Videos: Appointment to Tourism Authority, Roads and Towers @ LCC 2018-09-24

“You have an appointee information sheet in your packet,” said County Manager Joe Pritchard, and that’s all we learned about Michael Smith, who did not appear to speak, either, at yesterday morning’s Work Session. County Chairman Bill Slaughter did encourage the Commissioners to send in information sheets on any other nominees they might come up with for the Tourism Authority before tonight’s 5:30 PM voting Regular Session. He did not encourage the public to apply. But if you want to, here is the application form.

Also apparently the Internet really is made of pipes. It’s durious how the county can help a private company with television (that was the longest item at just under 2 minutes) but can’t use its plethora of towers to help with citizen Internet access.

And the county discussed in executive session buying real estate. The whole meeting before that took just under 8 minutes.

Below are Continue reading

Appointment to Tourism Authority, Roads and Towers @ LCC 2018-09-24

Why does the county leave us guessing and not just name who resigned, and say who Michael Smith is? Maybe they’ll say at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session this morning at 8:30 AM, or maybe when they vote tomorrow at 5:30 PM.

“Mr. Michael Smith has expressed interest in being appointed to” the Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center And Tourism Authority, says Continue reading

Videos: farewell Jason Davenport, approval limits, CALEA, personal care home @ LCC 2018-09-11

The county held a ceremony for departing Lowndes County Planner Jason Davenport. I asked the person sitting in his former seat, Engineering/Planning Technician Molly Stevenson, if she was confirmed yet. She would only say it was confirmed that she was sitting there right then.

They also had a 911 CALEA Re-Accreditation Presentation and the Chairman recognized Leadership Lowndes.

Citizens Bob Harlan and Fred E. Blanton Jr complained about road conditions. I thanked Utilities Director Steve Stalvey for sending information about recent Lowndes County sewage spills (two in July), and I thanked him advance for sending the NPDES-permit-required followup testing (not yet received).

On the REZ-2018-16 Stovall rezoning, the applicant revealed the reason for the previous restriction when Continue reading

Videos: Naylor Boat Ramp, approval limits, CALEA, personal care home @ LCC 2018-09-10

News about the Naylor Boat Ramp in an Engineering Projects Report! Chad McLeod also reported about the 911 center, the North Lowndes Soccer Complex, the fire warehouse classroom, the animal shelter, and the courthouse renovation project, all still to be completed from SPLOST VII funds, which run out next year. Even with that three-and-a-half-minute special engineering report, the whole meeting took ten minutes Monday morning.

Also not on the agenda, HR has a new employee. Also there will be a new traffic signal.

Should the County Manager and the Finance Director be able to approve Continue reading

Videos: fire truck, radios and phones, Hahira annexation, prison details @ LCC 2018-08-14

The most exciting thing last month was the new fire truck, on display outside, seen here driving off with its lights flashing:

Lights flashing, Fire Truck
See LAKE video.

This was the most recent Regular Session, because the Lowndes County Commission meetings for the end of August were cancelled.

County Manager Joe Pritchard again said he wanted higher staff approval limits for items in the budget. There was some question about campaign contributions on the Hahira rezoning and annexation; they didn’t know, but they approved it anyway. The longest discussion was on the Intrado phone system, which will have Lowndes County be the first south of Atlanta with text to 911. A suprising number of and variety of Commissioner questions on the 911 radios. The only question on the three utilities items was whether they were in the budget; they are. As usual, they rubberstamped the three Valdosta State Prison work details, with the only question being whether they were getting enough for the money. A: Yes, because prisoners work cheap.

Below are Continue reading

CALEA, personal care home, and county manager approval limit @ LCC 2018-09-10

Should the County Manager and the Finance Director be able to approve 2.5 times as much in dollar value on budgeted items as they currently can?

Also a rezoning to reconfigure for two parcels and another to permit personal care homes, plus a 911 CALEA Re-Accreditation Presentation are on the agenda for 8:30 AM this morning at the Work Session and tomorrow evening’s voting Regular Session.

2015-03-09 rezoning for Stovall property

The rezoning REZ-2018-16 Stovall, 6002 N. Oak St. Ext. to permit personal care homes is “as a result of a potential buyer’s interest in developing the property into an assisted living facility”. This same Tuesday, the same property is on ZBOA’s agenda for a variance on the buffer condition.

The 2015-03-10 agenda for the earlier rezoning from R-21 to C-G, Well & Other did not say anything specifically about private care facilities, nor did the Continue reading

Church, manufacturing, subdivisions, Hahira annexation @ GLPC 2018-08-27

The Hahira annexation and rezoning from the Lowndes County Commission meeting two weeks ago (and see comment below) was on the agenda for the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) last night, along with another subdivision, a church expansion, and some industry, in Valdosta and Lowndes County. I did not go, and Gretchen is out of the county, so there is no LAKE video.

You may ask yourself, as I do: why doesn’t the county video GLPC meetings? Or the city of Valdosta? Both have the facilities to do so.

Hahira annexation and rezoning HA-2018-03, HA-2018-02
On the LAKE website, Hahira annexation and rezoning HA-2018-03, HA-2018-02.

LAKE received this comment yesterday on the Hahira case:

Here is more info on this project which I am proud to bring to the community and which I believe will be a wonderful addition to it that all will feel proud to have. It ties into the community roots, it honors those that came before, and it meets a need today in north Lowndes County and does so in a wall all can feel proud of. I am a concerned citizen like anyone else and that is a big part of why I have gone out of my way with my engineer and planners to create something not only compliant, but that goes well above the line to bring something truly beautiful, that reflects both my family and my community in a way I can hold my up about when I walk around the community. Thank you for your interest. Sincerely, Chris Connell http://www.mcnealestates.com

LAKE does not have a position on this case. We will be happy to publish other comments for or against.

Greater Lowndes Planning Commission
Lowndes County City of Valdosta City of Dasher City of Hahira City of Lake Park
REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING
AGENDA

Monday, August 27, 2018 * 5:30 P.M. * Public Hearing
Lowndes County South Health District Administrative Office
325 West Savannah Avenue

Continue reading

No Lowndes County Commission meetings this week @ LCC 2018-08-27

Apparently due to lack of agenda items: Lowndes County website News Flash, 21 August 2018, Commission Meetings Cancelled- August 27/28, 2018,

The Lowndes County Commission Meetings scheduled for Monday, August 27, 2018, at 8:30 am and Tuesday, August 28, 2018, at 5:30 pm, have been cancelled.

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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!

Lowndes County rolled back millage @ LCC 2018-08-17

As Lowndes County Finance Director Stephanie Black always reminds everybody, of the total 8.814 county millage, 1 mil goes to the Development Authority, and 1.25 mils to Valdosta-Lowndes Parks and Recreational Authority. Here is a table from the PDF of her presentation slides.

Property Tax Example
City of Valdosta ResidentUnincorporated Resident
Property Value$200,000$200,000
Assessed Value (40%)$80,000$80,000
Homestead Exemption$(6,000)$(6,000)
Net Taxable Base$74,000$74,000
Tax Calculation:
Lowndes County — 8.814 PY 8.974$652$652
Development Authority — 1.00$74$74
Parks
& Recreation Authority — 1.25$93$93
Lowndes County Schools — 16.541 PY 16.839$1,224
City of Valdosta — 8.001 PY 8.001$592
Valdosta City Schools — 16.980 PY 16.980$1,257
Total Estimated Taxes$2,668$2,043

Since she made that table, Valdosta actually lowered its millage to 7.916, which in the above example would mean $50.32 less per year, for an example of how little difference these minor millage rollbacks or increases actually mean to taxpayers. The Valdosta Board of Education wants to increase its tax rate (but not its millage).

Last year the Lowndes County Commission voted on the millage during a Regular Session, Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

This year Continue reading

Hahira annexation, Orvis McNeal Estate, 2018-08-01 @ LCC 2018-08-14

The board packet materials for the proposed Hahira annexation and rezoning of the Orvis McNeal Estate on US 41 at the north edge of Hahira are on the LAKE website. Sabrina Denson sent them at 2:18 PM today. All I asked for was before the County Commission meeting today, so this is what County Clerk Paige Dukes agreed to do when I asked her yesterday morning.

[Tax Parcels Aerial]
Tax Parcels Aerial
PDF

Or is it? The agenda “Amended Aug 13, 2018 9:04 AM” has both the annexation and rezoning in item 6.k, and another item 6.l about extraterritorial water and sewer. Nothing was received from the county about Continue reading