Tag Archives: Clay Griner

Videos: Many objections at Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting @ LCC Comp Plan 2021-09-28

All of the speakers at the Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting were opposed to moving the Suburban Area line farther north on the Character Area Map. They presented cogent reasons, such as they live up there and aren’t going to sell, there are already 750 lots available for sale while it took a decade for Nelson Hill’s 500 lots to sell, and the county should be looking out for its people and preserving much of the county for the next 50 years.

[Comprehensive Plan Update, Crowd, Lowndes County Character Areas, Map of those opposed to changing Character Areas]
Comprehensive Plan Update, Crowd, Lowndes County Character Areas, Map of those opposed to changing Character Areas

Most of the Commissioners acted like further development northwest in the county is a force of nature over which they have no control, and expressed more concern for developers and investors than for the room full of people in front of them or the 900 petition signatories opposed.

Here are links to each LAKE video of each speaker with copious notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. There was no agenda. The lowndescounty.com online calendar had only a title, Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting, date, time, and place, with no agenda. The draft minutes are sketchy, omitting key points such as the Dorfman report, but you can find that report below. Continue reading

Pritchard hands over to Dukes as Lowndes County Manager @ LCC 2020-07-14

On August 1, 2020, Paige Dukes will be the new County Manager, after the 20-year reign of Joe Pritchard.

Paige Dukes, County Clerk, 2011-10-13
Paige Dukes, County Clerk, Lunch and Learn, 2011-10-13

Chris Herbert, Valdosta Daily Times, 14 July 2020, Dukes named Lowndes County Manager,

The vote was a split decision, 3-2, with commissioners Joyce Evans, Clay Griner and Scottie Orenstein voting in favor. Demarcus Marshall and Mark Wisenbaker opposed.

Marshall said his no vote was because he wanted to see the position advertised to open the pool up to other candidates.

“I would expect no less than to have this position advertised,” Marshall said. “To advertise it is saying, ‘we’re not just the good ole boys system or good ole girls system.'”

Wisenbaker said he wanted to see a “fresh” perspective from county leadership and hoped a broader search could provide some new outlooks for the county’s future.

“I voted no because I think the citizens of Lowndes County need to be better represented. We need to advertise this job…There’s nothing personal against Ms. Dukes. She’s been here a while. She does a good job. It’s just being able to look out there and see what we may be missing,” he said. “We got a $120 million budget. That’s not small and we need the right people and the right person to carry this on. And we need fresh ideas. We need a fresh person, in my opinion, that can bring new things to the table.”

Those two were in the minority, however, and the three in support said they are certain Dukes is the right decision.

“I’ve been on this board for six years, and Continue reading

Stick with old budget for now @ LCC 2020-06-26 @ LCC 2020-06-26

The Lowndes County Commission did not pass a new budget, and nobody seems to know or at least be willing to say why, even though that was on the agenda for that Tuesday meeting.

Instead, they’ve scheduled a “Special Called Meeting on Friday, June 26, 200, at 9:00 a.m., to consider a resolution to temporarily continue the operation of the 2020 Fiscal Year budget.”

We don’t have the new draft budget, but here’s the general fund expenditure chart from the old budget they’re extending:

[General Fund Expenditures]
General Fund Expenditures
37.12% + 12.17% = 49.29%

I wonder if this delay has anything to do with sales tax revenues being way down due to the pandemic, and nobody really knowing when they might recover?

There’s no video of the meeting, but fortunately the VDT was on the job. Chris Herbert, Valdosta Daily Times, 24 June 2020, Lowndes County Commission tables 2021 budget, Continue reading

Cities and Lowndes County settle service delivery dispute @ LCC 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-10: Not quite settled. Valdosta still has to agree to it.

These must be golden words indeed, to have been worth the hundreds of thousands of legal fees expended over them:

  1. In regards to water and sewer services:

    The Parties’ current water and sewer service areas are delineated on the service area maps attached to the DCA Forms for water and sewer services approved herewith.

    All existing intergovernmental agreements of the Parties regarding the provision of water and sewer services shall remain in effect.

    Any request for an extraterritorial extension shall be negotiated by the requesting Party and the affected Party. Approval of the affected Party shall not be unreasonably withheld.

The wording is “based on trust,” said Commissioner Clay Griner. “Where’s the document?” responded Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker? “It’s on your ipad,” clarified Chair Bill Slaughter.

As the County Clerk proceeded to hand out paper copies, Griner elaborated:

And it’s all based on trust. It’s us trusting, the County Commission trusting the City Council, whichever municipality it is, to do the right thing. The city council has to trust the County Commission to do the right thing. And the citizens to trust all of us to sit down and do the right thing.

After the county didn’t put anything for the citizens to see on the county website about this Wednesday morning meeting until Continue reading

Videos: Day 2, Planning, Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2018-02-20

These videos are for those of you who have jobs, or responsibilities, which prevent you from taking random days or hours off at a time. Commissioner Marshall was absent from the second day of the retreat because he has a job which does not allow him the flexibility of daytime hours off. (The first day of the retreat was on Presidents Day.)

The topics of discussion ranged from the ever popular litter and trash collection, to special tax districts, fire and emergency response, animal control and the animal shelter, and one of my favorites, electronic records. Most presentations were made either by the county manager or clerk but the current Deep South Solid Waste Authority Chairman Kevin Beals was first up to talk trash.

Below are links to each LAKE video of Day 2, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of Day 1 and 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: Emergency road repair bids! Appointments: Library Board, Development Authority, millage @ LCC 2017-08-22

The added agenda item 6e. Emergency Repairs to Rocky Ford Road got a couple of bids (unusual procedure; different from their usual no-bid emergencies) passed. The Chamber sent Gary Wisenbaker to speak in Citizens Wishing to Be Heard to ask for (after a very long preamble by John Page) apparently money from GDOT for a long list (in a letter the taxpayers did not get to see) of transportation projects to help “the business community”, apparently including the truck bypass.

They only appointed six of the seven members of the Development Authority of Lowndes County, although a Commissioner did ask about that. It’s also curious they said all the terms expired right then, since the Wayback machine has a snapshot of 4 April 2017, which shows three expiring in June 2017 and four already expired in December 2016. Apparently they just didn’t bother to appoint anybody to the four slots that expired in December 2016 until eight months later, and then they didn’t appoint anybody to one of the 2017 slots.

Below are links to Continue reading

Videos: Hurricane Irma, Register rezoning, Utility Authority @ LCC 2017-09-26

23 minutes last night to approve 3:2 with many conditions rezoning the 6c. REZ-2017-09 Robert A. Register Estate, with no shouting afterwards like there was at at the previous evening’s Planning Commission meeting, yet a lot of grumbling at the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, especially since they seem to have forgotten the greenspace condition.

Biggest crowd in a long time, REZ-2017-09 Robert A. Register Estate

I would like to commend the Commission for the amount and depth of discussion in this meeting, especially in the unscheduled 10. Commission Comments and Recognitions and Meeting Adjournment, which was mostly about Clay Griner’s idea of having a county-wide utility authority including all the cities in the county. Update 2017-10-20: moved the rest of this utility authority commentary down to the video item below.

Also not on the agenda was Chairman Slaughter comments on community response to Hurricane Irma (which were mostly about county staff; well-deserved especially for Ashley Tye) and Georgia Power Representative recognizes county hurricane response.

While it’s great that Georgia Power came to compliment the county, does that electric utility rep. reside in or pay property taxes in Lowndes County, and why was he not required to state his name and address? Ditto the software salesman for Continue reading

Videos: Bids for emergency road repair! Appointments: Library Board, Development Authority, millage @ LCC 2017-08-21

Bids for an emergency repair! This could be a first, instead of their usual sole source approve-it-right now method. See the County Manager’s Report, in which County Engineer Mike Fletcher describes bids incoming from both Scruggs and Reames for temporary repair to Rocky Ford Road.

Below are links to each LAKE video of yesterday morning’s Work Session with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda with notes about appointments and millage. And see also the 5 PM today Millage Rate Meeting.

Continue reading

Appointments: Library Board, Development Authority, millage, cameras @ LCC 2017-08-21

Maybe the county would have enough applicants their Work Session, Monday morning at 8:30 AM, if they advertised for applicants for open board seats, such as on the Development Authority of Lowndes County, And if they posted the application sheets for the applicants they did get, such as for the Lowndes County Library Board, we’d have some idea of who they are. They could even say whether the millage is going up or down.

According to the agenda sheet for the appointment to the Lowndes County Library Board,

There is a vacant seat on the Lowndes County Library Board. The Board of Trustees of the South Georgia Regional Library System respectfully requests the appointment of Mr. Gene Toffolo to fill the vacant seat.

They don’t say who applicant Gene Toffolo is. According to the South Georgia Regional Library he’s a 2016 Friends of the Library Board member:


Front Left to Right: Kay Scott, Janet Toffolo, Mary Helen Watson (President), Merrilee Casady, Sarah Smart (Vice President), Robert DeVan (Treasurer)
Back Left to Right: Gene Toffolo, Patricia Marks, Riley Howard, Karl Osmus, John Swiderski (Secretary)

The county’s agenda and agenda sheet for the Lowndes County Library Board don’t say whose seat expired or maybe somebody resigned. The county’s web page for this board is no more helpful, listing these members and expirations, none of which expires in 2017: Continue reading