Tag Archives: Alapaha River

Videos: Water on private roads, ditches, transparency, Tourism Authority appointment, 3 rezonings, wetlands, solar, UPS, Lake Alapaha water treatment, body cameras @ LCC Regular 2021-08-10

Lowndes County apparently forgot to turn on the audio feed to the media corral in the back of the room during their August 10, 2021, Regular Session. Gretchen noticed during the 811 Day Proclamation and switched to the camera’s microphone, which was better than no audio. They did turn the audio feed back on during the approval of the Minutes.

The Lowndes County Commission has not videoed their own meetings for about a year now, despite authorizing $110,147.78 for Commission Chambers Audio and Visual Upgrade back in April with a report in July of expected total delivery in August. Meanwhile, the City of Valdosta livestreamed all their meetings during the pandemic with an iPhone.

The longest item by far at twelve minutes was 7.b. REZ-2021-12 US 84/I-75 Industrial Park – PD amendment for solar. After Attorney Jack Langdale spoke for, Gretchen Quarterman also spoke for.

REZ-2021-12 PD amendment for solar @ Lowndes County Commission 2021-09-10

Second was 10. Reports – County Manager, which includes some discussion about rural broadband funding.

Plus five Citizens Wishing to Be Heard, two about impassible private dirt roads, two others about drainage problems, and Brad Folsom: citizens request for more transparency.

It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict (as I did) that Wild Adventures Jon Vigue would be appointed to the Valdosta Lowndes Tourism Authority, since the last two appointees were also Wild Adventures GM.

Commissioners approved the 8.b. Alapaha Plantation Water Treatment Pilot Study, but there are murmurings that they are not going to do any subdivision water systems more like that.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of the preceding Monday morning Work Session, the agenda and the preceding Planning Commission meeting. The board packet, received after a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-09–lcc-packet

Videos: Tourism Authority appointment, 3 rezonings, wetlands, solar, UPS, Lake Alapaha water treatment, body cameras @ LCC Work 2021-08-09

The longest item at fourteen and a half minutes was yet more public money to be spent on water for the private Lake Alapaha subdivision next to the Alapaha River, in the Lowndes County Commission Work Session yesterday, Monday morning, August 9, 2021. They vote 5:30 PM this evening, Tuesday evening, August 10. See also The never-ending Lake Alapaha Water Treatment Plant saga @ LCC 2021-08-10.

Lowndes County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall questioning more money for Lake Alapaha Water Treatment

The three rezonings also got 4, 5, and 7 minutes.

It’s an even safer bet they will appoint Wild Adventures General Manager Jonathan Vigue to the Tourism Authority.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and the preceding Planning Commission meeting. The board packet, received after a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-09–lcc-packet

The never-ending Lake Alapaha Water Treatment Plant saga @ LCC 2021-08-10

Back in 2013 and 2014, Lowndes County spent at least $35,500 to “fix” the Lake Alapaha Water Treatment Plant, which had been getting notices of violation from GA-EPD since 2004. In 2018 the county spent another $16,915 to upgrade a water line for a private developer there. These are just the costs we know about.

Back in 2013 Commissioner Demarcus Marshall asked, “The water is good now, right?”

Well, apparently the water is not good, because here we are again, with a proposed $173,000 to fix the same plant. I have sent the county an open records request to get the two proposals and the corrective action plan by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and related correspondence.

At least this time the county did not do yet another no-bid contract to the same engineering firm that did not fix it seven years ago. Maybe this contractor can finally fix this seventeen-year problem. But that won’t fix the county’s chronic problem of assuming responsibility for private water wells for subdivisions.

Remember Lake Alapaha when you see the three rezonings on the agenda for voting Tuesday evening listed as having no “BUDGET IMPACT”, the same as every rezoning before them. Every subdivision affects the county’s budget, for water and sewer, or for roads, or for sending fire or Sheriff vehicles, or the school system’s budget for school busses, not to mention likely increases in flooding due to impervious surfaces. Yet Lowndes County never seems to mention any of that when considering a rezoning.

8.b. Alapaha Plantation Water Treatment Pilot Study

This is the kind of extra expense Valdosta avoided by sinking its water wells at Guest Road twice as deep after Withlacoochee River water was discovered reaching them from Shadrick Sink, on the other side of the Withlacoochee River, and the other side of what is now the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank, recently sold to Uvalde Land Company, which wants to deannex half of it from Valdosta.

The Alapaha Water Treatment Plant is at 6328 Lake Alapaha Boulevard, Naylor, GA. Go east of Naylor on US 84, right into Lake Alapaha Hidden Cove subdivision, then on the right.

Your location will be on your right (No trespassing All violators will be prosecuted).

The agenda sheet for voting tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM says: Continue reading

Tourism Authority appointment, 3 rezonings, wetlands, solar, UPS, Lake Alapaha water treatment, body cameras @ LCC 2021-08-09

Update 2021-08-09: The never-ending Lake Alapaha Water Treatment Plant saga @ LCC 2021-08-10.

The biggest ticket item is yet more public money to be spent on water for the private Lake Alapaha subdivision next to the Alapaha River, in the Lowndes County Commission agenda for Monday morning, August 9, 2021, and voting Tuesday evening, August 10.

On the Tourism Authority appointment, Molly Deese succeeded the previous General Manager of Wild Adventures, so it’s a safe bet that the current GM, Jonathan Vigue, will succeed her on that Authority. But he’s got some competition with Rita Hightower of the Garden Center and The Crescent.

As usual, none of the three rezonings are counted as affecting the county budget, although all three will have long-term effects, two negative because of school buses and Fire and Sheriff Department calls, and one maybe positive because it’s for solar panels: REZ-2021-12 US 84/I-75 Industrial Park ~542 ac., County Utilities, I-S, M-1, M-2 and P-D (Amended).

[The three rezonings]
The three rezonings

Note the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determination that the remaining part of Val Del Villas off Val Del Road is not jurisdictional wetlands, so more houses can be built. Northside Property Development has the same registered agent as Uvalde Land Company that bought the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank next to the Withlacoochee River and wants to deannex the upland half of it from Valdosta. The uplands in that Bank tract are not jurisdictional wetlands, either.

The other subdivision also involves wetlands, two creeks leading to Bay Branch and the Withlacoochee River, plus at least one retention pond: REZ-2021-09 Building Valdosta Subdivision (0070 018), R-A to R-21, Community Well & Septic, ~64.84 acres.

Cost What
$173,000.00Alapaha Plantation Water Treatment Pilot Study
$102,812.00Purchase of Body Cameras and Dash Cameras for Various Departments
$24,778.59Vertiv Service Contract for the Liebert UPS at the 911 Center & the 4 Tower Sites
$300,590.59Total

The $300 thousand total is a bit apples and oranges, since the cameras are for five years and the UPS is annual.

Here is the agenda. The board packet, received after a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-09–lcc-packet

See also the preceding Planning Commission meeting.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Public Facilities Autority, 2 rezonings, 2 GDOT agreements, Juvenile Justice, 3 road widenings, Hahira extraterritorial water @ LCC 2021-05-10

Almost eight million dollars, mostly for road projects, presumably approved by the Lowndes County Commission at their meeting yesterday.

[Union Station on Union Road, borrow pit off Lake Alapaha Blvd.]
Union Station on Union Road, borrow pit off Lake Alapaha Blvd.

Cost What
$4,931,029.15Old US 41 Widening Project
$1,669,478.88GDOT Standard Utility Agreement, Lake Park Bellville Road
$314,776.00Bid for a Loader for Public Works
$300,000.00Borrow Pit Agreement
$250,172.09Change Order For Old US 41 Widening Project
$172,637.00GDOT Standard Contract Agreement Exit 11
$165,427.00FY 2022 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Application
$58,673.47Turn Lane Project for Cat Creek Road and River Road
$13,000.00Bid for Annual Coffee Service for County Buildings
$7,875,193.59Total

The Union Station rezoning on Union Road continues to have complications, this time Hahira Extraterritorial Extension of Water Service.

[Conceptual Layout for Union Station on Union Road]
Conceptual Layout for Union Station on Union Road
PDF

The water body in the aerial for the Borrow Pit Agreement is not the Alapaha River. Continue reading

Videos and packet: Millage, SPLOST VIII, Wastewater, roads, bridges, mosquitos, Construction Board @ LCC 2019-08-12

County Manager Joe Pritchard said Finance Director Stephanie Black has received a millage report from the Tax Commissioner. He and she will prepare something from it for the Lowndes County Commissioners for a later meeting.

The board packet is on the LAKE website, in response to a LAKE open records request.

Below are Continue reading

$1.5 mllion on wastewater, SPLOST VIII, roads, bridges, mosquitos, Construction Board @ LCC 2019-08-12

The resolution to reimpose the SPLOST tax as SPLOST VIII, was not included with the agenda for the tax-paying public to see. LAKE has filed an open records request for the entire board packet. Perhaps the county will supply it before they vote tomorrow.

[Land Application Site]
Land Application Site

Four bids were received for LAS and Pump Station Improvements with the high bid at $3.3 million, and the low at $2.5 million, but apparently the county negotiated the low bidder, Doyle Hancock & Sons, down to $1,520,858.00. This is “for improvements to the LAS [Land Application Site, aka wastewater spray field], Bevel Creek, Francis Lake, and Coleman Road lift stations.” The LAS is between Grassy Pond and Pike Pond, a few thousand feet from the GA-FL line, in the Withlacoochee River watershed. 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: Day 1, Planning, Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2018-02-19

The 2018 Lowndes County Commission Retreat was just about the exact opposite of a commission meeting, except that same group of people are present (almost). There was discussion, disagreement, laughing, sighing, interrupting, listening, inside jokes, outside jokes, and general exchange of views. Those things don’t happen in a commission meeting. This year’s retreat was particularly different because there was no time frame attached to any agenda item and they didn’t discuss topics in exact order, and some topics got covered repeatedly. Commissioner Evans said to me during a break that the previous format of having departments just give a report can “get boring” and she had suggested that they have a different format with more discussion about communications.

The agenda was available on-line but was hard to find and the link I followed to find it is gone now. I did manage to download it before it went away. Find it here: 2018 LCC Annual Planning Meeting Agenda (plus searchable text). There were paper copies available at the meeting after the first break.

I sometimes think that the commissioners may be getting used to me but then, no, don’t be silly.

At the lunch hour, the Commissioners stepped outside to take a group picture and as County Clerk Page Dukes suggested that they get closer and not have so much “space” between them, Commissioners Orenstein and Griner (I live in their districts) huddled together.

Commissioners Gather Group Photo Close Group Photo
  Commissioners Orenstein and Griner

Below are links to each LAKE video, with a few notes followed by a LAKE video playlist. Continue reading

Videos: Naylor Boat Ramp and Appointments to Public Facilities Authority @ LCC 2017-10-10

By far the most time, almost eight minutes, on 6b. Abandonment of Portions of Old Lake Park Road and Hickory Grove Road SE, the Lowndes County Commissioners spent two weeks ago, involving reference to minutes they approved in that meeting but that still aren’t on the county’s website two weeks later, and resulting in a split vote.

More interesting: the county is finally starting construction on the Naylor Boat Ramp.

By their customary silent “acclamation” they appointed people to the Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority.

Below are Continue reading