Tag Archives: 9 April 2012

Videos of Lowndes County and the mayors @ LOST 2012 04 09

Here are videos of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) talks yesterday morning between Lowndes County and the local cities (Valdosta, Hahira, Remerton, Dasher, and Lake Park. Not really negotiations, these were more an exchange of views. The county’s position is the same as Chairman Ashley Paulk told me after the county’s four minute work session earlier that morning: the county could claim 72% of LOST based on cost of services delivered to the whole county, but the county’s offer is to stick with the 58% share from 2002. The cities all would like a bigger share.

The venue was the county’s meeting room next to Commission Chambers. There was no sound feed available in there, so sound is variable.

First County Manager Joe Pritchard explained the state-mandated procedures and Lowndes County’s position, both of which were spelled out in a three page paper. Basically, the county wants to stick to the percentages negotiated in 2002, although by the county’s reckoning it could ask for a much higher percentage.

None of the cities had a written position paper. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle noted Valdosta had grown more than the county as a whole. County Chairman Ashley Paulk responded that the city couldn’t grow without the county growing. The Mayor said nontheless most growth was in Valdosta. The Chairman asked whether that was growth in households? The Mayor said he didn’t know the answer to that right now. The Chairman remarked that according to his reading of the census, it was mostly not in households.

Hahira Mayor Wayne Bullard Continue reading

Lowndes County position on LOST negotiations @ LCC 2012 04 09

Lowndes County Clerk Paige Dukes handed out this document, Lowndes County’s Report for Initial LOST Negotiations: April 9, 2012, at that first LOST meeting yesterday. When I spoke to her later, I mentioned that I thought it was the very model of how to write such a document: clear, complete, pithy, and easily understandable. She did not have a readily-accessible electronic copy, so I’ve posted these scanned images on the LAKE website.

The document includes a summary of the negotiation procedure (60 days to negotiate, after which it goes to mediation, then Superior Court “baseball arbitration”), plus how and how much LOST can reduce property taxes.

The rest of the document is the county’s position, which includes that the county provides services such as sheriff, courts, public health, and animal control that benefit the entire county, and the county could claim 72% of LOST. However, the county is only asking for the same 58% as negotiated in 2002.

A few things I did not know include that the dedicated millage for Parks and Rec (VLPRA 1.5mil) and the Industrial Authority (VLCIA 1 mil) come out of county property taxes, not out of any city property taxes. Also VLCIA’s millage started since 2002, before which VLCIA was funded out of hotel-motel taxes, including Valdosta hotel-motel taxes.

I also remarked to Paige Dukes that I wished the cities had prepared similar position statements. She said they may be depending on LOST negotiating documents by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), and that there were similar documents by the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), both which you can find linked in on the LAKE website.

The ACCG guidelines include this interesting passage:

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Four minute work session @ LCC 2012 04 09

As I walked in the door, a couple minutes late due to construction on the hospital parking lot, Commissioner Crawford Powell said,

John, you’re late!

They were milling about and looked like they were about to start. But no, they had started early and Chairman Paulk told me the meeting had lasted four minutes because there hadn’t been much to say. So there are no videos of this morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session.

I remarked that it had seemed like a fairly complicated agenda, but he didn’t think so.

I asked him about this mysterious item:

7.b. Request from LCSO — GOHS Grant #2013-TEN-0077-00 & #2013-GA-0040-00

He said it is about some equipment to automate Sheriff’s deputies checking license plates against databases. I told him I had assumed they had already been doing that. He said they could do it by hand, but they’d get really tired trying to do as many as this device could do.

Presumably it’s similar to the Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) described by Doug Nurse in the AJC 20 March 2009, New police license plate scanner eyes criminals.

Alpharetta Police Officer John Allen said that a few weeks after the system became went online last August, he was driving home after a shift when the system alerted him that he had passed a stolen car. He wheeled around, and after a chase, arrested the thief.

“I never even saw the tag myself,” Allen said. “I would have just kept going. It catches things I would be unable to see.”

While I don’t know that I’m in favor of ALPR, it’s common enough elsewhere that I was actually surprised the famously drug-interdicting LCSO wasn’t already using it.

To the Chairman’s credit, as soon as I asked about the LOST meeting with the mayors, he said it was at 9:30 in the room next door, and the public was invited. I took videos of that LOST meeting, and they will appear soon.


Shadowy LOST talks tomorrow morning among all the local elected governments @ LOST 2012 04 09

It’s great that the local cities and the county government think they can negotiate how to share Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) money this time without spending a lot of money suing each other like they did back in 2002. It’s not so great that they’re doing it at an unannounced time and place.

Kay Harris wrote Saturday in the VDT, LOST talks set to begin: County, cities to meet Monday,

As required by state law, Lowndes County issued a letter to the mayors of all the municipalities in the county, requesting they attend a renegotiation meeting Monday, April 9 to discuss LOST (local option sales tax) distributions.

“This has to be done and approved by the end of the year in order to stay in place, so we have to start the process now,” said Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk.

Well, that’s interesting. When is this meeting? Ah, the time of day wasn’t included in the article.

There’s a clue in David Rodock’s 31 March 2012 writeup about the Commission retreat, Continue reading

Alcohol, development, and a tank? @ LCC 2012-04-09,10

A somewhat complicated agenda at Lowndes County Commission Monday morning (Work Session) and Tuesday evening (voting Regular Session): adoption of infrastructure for Laurelbrooke Subdivision Phase II, four public hearings (a rezoning, a road abandonment, a beer and wine license, and a liquor license). And these cryptic items:
7.a. Seminole Circle Property
7.b. Request from LCSO — GOHS Grant #2013-TEN-0077-00 & #2013-GA-0040-00
Your guess is as good as mine about the Seminole Circle Property. If the Commission wanted we the public to know, they would have told us.

Update 2012 05 06: fixed the date in the title.

However, I believe that 7.b. alphabet soup translates as Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) — Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). The TEN in the grant numbers makes me wonder if those grants are related to GOHS’s Georgia Traffic Enforcement Networks:

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in cooperation with state and local law enforcement agencies has organized regional Traffic Enforcement Networks around the State of Georgia. There are currently sixteen regional traffic enforcement networks servicing all 159 counties in Georgia. The regional networks are open to all sworn law enforcement officers and prosecutors and are designed to enhance traffic enforcement activities through networking, training and legislation. The networks serve as a catalyst for traffic enforcement officers to voice their concerns and share ideas with their counterparts from other agencies in their region. Guest speakers and panelists have included state and municipal court judges, prosecutors, legislators, MADD representatives, Public Service Commission, and ALS judges.
LCSO participates in this TEN:
Southern Regional Traffic Enforcement Network (SRTEN) Counties included: Atkinson, Lowndes, Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Ben Hill and Tift.
Or maybe they’re just buying another tank. Or will the Commission require that “surrounding counties could be persuaded to contribute” financially like they did when refusing an emergency vehicle grant?

I’m guessing the Commissioners won’t like me guessing what they’re up to. But, you know, if they told us, for example by putting board packet details online with the agendas, we wouldn’t have to guess.

Here’s the agenda.


WORK SESSION, MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
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