Here are videos of the candidate forum at Serenity Church last Sunday. Anyone can use these videos provided they attribute Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange. There’s another candidate forum tonight at VSU.
Every Valdosta City Council seat up for election is contested, a couple of Valdosta School Board seats, one Hahira City Council seat, and five people are running for four Lake Park City Council seats.
Although this is a nonpartisan election, all candidates are invited to speak tonight at the Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP) monthly meeting, 6PM Monday 14 September 2015, at Mama June’s Home Cookin’, 3286 Inner Perimeter Rd., Valdosta, GA. Around 20 of them will speak, so here’s your first opportunity to hear directly from most of the candidates.
Here’s the list of candidates who qualified for this election, according to the Lowndes County Board of Elections, formatted the way they sent it. Continue reading
According to a thesis at Georgia Southern, hospitals are the most likely industry to form microgrids, and it’s not just New York State doing microgrids; even Alabama has one. South Georgia Medical Center plus VSU seems like a good microgrid opportunity. Put solar panels on the roofs, buy some Tesla Powerwalls for backup, experiment with some wind…. Maybe the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority could help. And use the electricity bill money saved to fund public transportation!
Matthew S. Purser, Georgia Southern, Spring 2014, A Technical and Economic Feasibility Study of Implementing a Microgrid at Georgia Southern University. Continue reading
ESPLOST will win by 4 to 1. Going not very far out on a limb, with only 3 of 9 precincts reporting, but with 79+ yes to 20% no at 8:30 PM, I predict ESPLOST will win. Oops, make that 7 of 9 precincts; changed while I was writing this.
Co-Chair Jerome Tucker emphasized that ESPLOST helping public schools also helps economic development. See below for who we now know are the committee members for the Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST). It’s mysterious why that information wasn’t in the PR before the meeting, but now we know, since Gretchen went and took the videos and collected the flyers you’ll find below.
Early voting already started that same day and continues through March 13th, with the final Election Day 17 March 2015.
Lowndes/Valdosta Citizens for Excellence in Education
Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax
For Lowndes County Schools and Valdosta City Schools Continue reading
A committee of unknown members is holding a kickoff meeting today for the Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax. Various local news media carry the announcement below, but none of them seem to have the names of the committee members beyond one co-chair. I guess we’ll find out from the videos Gretchen is going there now to take.
In the City of Valdosta’s In The City This Week, Feb. 23-28,
Feb. 24: ESPLOST V Campaign. The ESPLOST joint committee will host a campaign kickoff on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 5 p.m., in the Valdosta City Hall Annex Multi-Purpose Room. At the meeting, committee members will share proposed projects for Lowndes County and Valdosta City Schools with citizens. Early voting runs Feb. 23 through March 13. The final opportunity to vote will be on the official Election Day, March 17. For more information, email Co-Chair John Eunice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Valdosta Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution against HB 170 last night and forwarded it to the local legislative delegation via email and on paper, according to Joy at the Valdosta School Superintendent’s office just now.
Here’s the Rationale in the yesterday’s VBOE agenda:
HB170 has been introduced this legislative session. It proposes to remove the local tax on fuel and replace it with a tax at the distributor level which would be paid to the state. For Valdosta City Schools this would mean a reduction in revenue of approximately $1.8 million annually from ESPLOST. The total loss of revenue for the city and county governments and the city and county school districts would be approximately $12 million annually. If passed, this bill would have a devastating effect on our community.
Yesterday a Georgia House subcommittee did exactly what Valdosta urged it not to do about distributing HB 170 funds. Given that LMIG mismatch between cities and counties to replace the previous mismatch of forced double taxation on cities and counties, is the legislature trying to cause dissension between counties and their cities, or is it just that inept? We know Valdosta’s position. What will the Lowndes County Commission do?
How long will the Lowndes County government and ACCG wait to act, while the Georgia legislature moves on its stealth transportation tax hike for Atlanta that would defund local school boards and city and county governments? A House subcommittee has made some changes to the bill, but it would still force local governments to raise taxes, and it adds an unrelated repeal of an electric vehicle tax credit to its boondoggle for trucking companies and Atlanta. Do we want our local public schools to be defunded like wildlife programs were through the state’s wildlife license plate revenue tax taking? If not, now’s the time to lobby against HB 170, before the full House Transportation Committee meets Thursday. Yet there’s still nothing about HB 170 on the county’s agenda for this evening’s voting Regular Session.
Valdosta has already Continue reading
Local schools would lose $4 million annually and local governments overall $12 million annually, because HB 170 would “re-allocate local sales tax funding from local governments to the state of Georgia”, resolved Valdosta’s Mayor and Council last Thursday. Plus HB 170 would effectively authorize “double taxation of municipal residents”, because both Lowndes County and Valdosta would have to raise property taxes, which would result in Valdosta’s citizens being taxed more twice (by both the county and the city). For how serious Valdosta considers this threat to its ability to provide services to local citizens, witness how fast this resolution got passed (within weeks after HB 170 was introduced into the legislature) compared to how long it took for Valdosta to pass a resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline (about eighteen months).
Here’s the complete text of the Valdosta resolution that passed 5 Febuary 2015. See also Valdosta’s PR about this resolution, which contains links to the evidence, and Valdosta’s letter to the sponsor of the bill.
RESOLUTION NO. 2015-3
A RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE STATE OF GEORGIA’S
TRANSPORTATION FUNDING ACT OF 2015 Continue reading