Tag Archives: 26 June 2012

Budget, boards, and abandonment @ LCC 2012-06-26

The Lowndes County Commission appointed people to four boards, approved a budget for next fiscal year, made some unspecified changes to this year’s budget, and demonstrated they could both stop speeding traffic on a rural road and put a cap on a construction contract! All this in one meeting, their Regular Session of 26 June 2012.

Here’s the agenda. Here are videos of the previous morning’s Work Session. And here are videos of the 5PM (actually 4:57PM) budget hearing.

Here’s a video playlist:

Budget, boards, and abandonment
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 June 2012.


County puts a cap on a construction contract! @ LCC 2012-06-26

The county can put a cap on a construction contract! That's welcome news.

At their 26 June 2012 Regular Session the Lowndes County Commission approved an item listed on the agenda as "9. FY 2010 Community Development Block Grant". They added three qualifications:

  1. That the grant applicant delivers the deed to the Board of Commissioners that is acceptable to the Board of Commissioners.
  2. That the construction contract not exceed 700,000.
  3. That the grant applicant is in agreement with the Board of Commissioners to pay the difference between the grant funds and project costs.

That's all admirable, and quite a difference from the approach the Commission took to another grant-funded project: the no-bid contract with Scruggs Co. for the new Moody AFB gate. Did we the taxpayers ever find out how much the final contract was for and how much the final cost overrun was?

Of course, in this new case, we never learned who the construction contractor was, or whether there were bids, of anything else about the contract. Why doesn't the Commission want us to know such things?



Closing one end of Brinson Drive to stop speeders @ LCC 2012-06-26

Closing one end of a dirt road to stop speeders: it turns out the county can do that, after all! And it’s a popular thing to do.

One spoke against, but changed to be for. Three others spoke for. The agenda item at the 26 June 2012 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission was

7. Public Hearing: Abandonment of a Portion of Brinson Drive
  • John L. Lewis who lives in Lanier County but owns property at 4718 Brinson Road spoke against closing Brinson Drive. County Engineer Mike Fletcher clarified that they weren’t closing the whole road; they were abandoning a portion of it near Pikes Pond Road, making Brinson a dead end to stop speeding through traffic. Lewis seemed mollified.
  • Richard Rigby spoke for the closing of Brinson Road, saying it was the greatest thing the Commission had done in the last ten years, other than keeping Haunted House Road open.
  • Amanda Parker spoke for closing Brinson Drive; she lives on Oak Hill Drive at the end of Brinson and almost got run over that morning.
  • Loretta Steed spoke for closing Brinson Drive; she lives on Pikes Pond Road near one end of Brinson. She said she had been against the closing until she learned from Rigby that the county was keeping Haunted House Road open. Instead she wanted to know how it would be closed so as to stop the speeders from getting on it. Chairman Paulk said a culvert would be removed.
  • Commissioners voted unanimously to close one end of Brinson Drive.

Three years ago in a similar situation, the county insisted on paving Quarterman Road instead. Quarterman Road, which, unlike Brinson Drive, doesn’t even go anywhere. Paving resulted in speeders and drag racers through a residential neighborhood. As resident Carolyn Selby put it:

You designed a mile and a half straight-away, and they have come. Welcome to the Quarterman Road Drag Strip!

The county continues to insist speed humps are out of the question. It’s good to hear Commissioners have become concerned about safety somewhere in the county.


Mickey Tillman recognized @ LCC 2012-06-26

As an unscheduled item at the 26 June 2012 Regular Session, Lowndes County Chairman Ashley Paulk and County Manager Joe Pritchard recognized the many years of service of Mickey Tillman. Here's an excerpt from what Joe Pritchard said:

Mickey was hired in 1975. Lowndes County was referred to as the Commission of Roads and Revenue. and the county had a population of approximately 60,000 people and was served by 150 employees. Today of course Lowndes County serves nearly 110,000 citizens with an employee base of 575. Mickey has been a part of this historical growth and he has been instrumental in the early development of several key services that continue to meet the needs of the citizens today.

Then the Commissioners posed for photographs with Mickey Tillman.

Here's the video:

Mickey Tillman recognized
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 June 2012.


Started early, no new information, no questions: Second and final budget hearing @ LCC 2012-06-26

Your last chance to hear about the budget for Lowndes County was 26 June 2012, just before the Commission’s Regular Session. It went really fast; even faster than the first budget hearing. And, as you can see, this second hearing started three minutes early: 4:57 Eastern, before the public notice time of 5PM.

Here’s the actual budget. In this second hearing, Finance Director Stephanie Black sped through her slides, so for more explanation see the videos the first budget hearing. This time she did allude to a budget adjustment coming up in the immediately-following Regular Session, but she didn’t say what it was. The second time she mentioned it, she said “We’ve received some information” about a revenue reduction, but she didn’t say what that information was. Commissioners either already knew what it was, or didn’t care, because nobody asked any questions. It’s almost like the Commission doesn’t want us knowing what they’re thinking of doing with our money until they’ve already decided.

See also the previous post about Public Works expenditures.

Here’s a video playlist:

Second and final budget hearing, Lowndes County Commission (LCC), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 June 2012
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).


Public Works Expenditures @ LCC 2012-06-26

Sheriff’s Office $0.35
Public Works (Facilities, Road Maintenance, Road Construction) $0.15
Court Services $0.11
Board of Commissioners and Administration $0.08
Recreation Authority (VLPRA) $0.07
Industrial Authority (VLCIA) $0.06
Other — including outside agency support $0.04
Tax Commissioner $0.03
Board of Assessors $0.03
Ambulance Service $0.02
Other Emergency Services (EMA, Coroner, Emergency Telecommunications) $0.02
Election Services $0.01
Engineering Services $0.01
Contingency $0.01
Animal Control Services $0.01

On the county’s web pages Finance Director Stephanie Black has made available Where does your money go? She narrated that table in the 26 June 2012 Second Budget Hearing. Here it is in plain text on the right. I’ve taken the liberty of sorting it by largest expenditures first.

That order is more or less what she showed in this pie chart, although the categories don’t quite seem to match. In the pie chart, public safety (Sheriff) and court services are lumped together, so they make the biggest slice. In the table, the second biggest category is “Public Works (Facilities, Road Maintenance, Road Construction)”. Hm, so how much do we spend on road construction?