Tag Archives: Clay Griner

Videos: Danny Weeks, Millage Rate, 3 Alcohol, Animals, Paper Ballots @ LCC Regular 2023-08-22

$4.2 million per mill times 2.5 mills is $10.5 million dollars a year that the county fire department is to get with no budget.

That’s up from last year’s $3.2 million per mill for $8 million, so the county fire department is to get an extra $2.5 million. Yet they never advertised it as a tax increase.

For what, and with what accounting, was not explained. Chairman Bill Slaughter said it was to maintain a “healthy fund balance” for five years since they established the fire department. Where can citizens see this fund balance, and what it is being spent on?

[Collage @ LCC 22 August 2023]
Collage @ LCC 22 August 2023

Both millage rate votes passed only by 3:2. If all three of the Lowndes County Commissioners who voted against on one or the other had voted against both, or if one of the other two had joined against on those votes, the county would have had to think again.

However, for the main millage, they approved 8.778 mills, which the Chairman said is a rollback of 1.434 (from last year). This is noticeably less than the Department of Revenue recommendation of 8.896 mills. Less as in 0.118 mills or $283,200. Until Commissioner Clay Griner the previous day asked what millage would actually match the projected budget, they seemed to be heading for the larger figure.

Still no explanation of why only one of the three beer and wine licenses got a Public Hearing.

They added an item for a change order on a Val Del Road water main for “about $180,000”. That reminds me that in July they approved almost $10 million for another water main in advance of development. Got to have sprawl.

More questions about the condition of the old dog box. Continue reading

Videos: Howell Road Halfway House approved in split vote @ LCC Regular 2023-04-11

Two weeks ago the Lowndes County Commission appointed Brenda Mims to the Board of Health, Victoria Copeland and Marion Ramsey to ZBOA, and Jane Peeples to the Library Board, all unanimously.

Everything else (except one item) also passed unanimously, including 8.b. Amend 2015 Solid Waste Ordinance raising waste collection fees and reducing collection center hours, as requested by the haulers.

[Collage @ LCC Regular 2023-04-11]
Collage @ LCC Regular 2023-04-11

It became even more obvious why they tabled it a month before: All the Lowndes County Commissioners apparently already knew how they were going to vote on the Howell Road halfway house rezoning before they held the Public Hearing.

The vote was the same as Continue reading

Correspondence: Proposed Rezoning on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road 2022-12-12

Update 2022-12-20: Videos: Dollar General rezoning tabled, Troupville Nature Park land purchased @ LCC 2022-12-13.

All letters were opposed, of those sent to GLPC or LCC by December 12, 2022, about the rezoning for a Dollar General on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road.

Thanks to Lowndes County Planner JD Dillard for sending this correspondence on REZ-2022-20 last Monday in response to an open records request, before I mentioned it in the Lowndes County Commission meeting Tuesday.

[Map, Letters, REZ-2022-20, GA 122 & Skipper Bridge Road]
Map, Letters, REZ-2022-20, GA 122 & Skipper Bridge Road

Letters

There are letters from Joyce Jones, Jamie Rowntree, and Gwen Rowntree. Gwen Rowntree sent a letter to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) and followed up with a similar letter to the Lowndes County Commission (LCC).

It appears that while there may be people who have spoken to Commissioners in support of the rezoning, as of Monday a week ago nobody had written in support. All the letters are in opposition.

As you can see, Continue reading

Videos: Dollar General rezoning legally must be tabled, Troupville land purchase is for a park @ LCC 2022-12-12

Update 2022-12-18: Correspondence: Proposed Rezoning on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road 2022-12-12.

County Manager Paige Dukes said they are legally required to table the rezoning for a Dollar General, because they were a day late on getting notices out, although she twice blamed that on the Valdosta Daily Times.

[Collage @ LCC 12 December 2022]
Collage @ LCC 12 December 2022

County Chairman Bill Slaughter said the applicant had requested tabling, and he recommended the second meeting in January (January 24, 2023). Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know why. The Chairman said, “It works out for two of the parties involved, the county and the developer.” (Nevermind the people.) Commissioner Scottie Orenstein said “I’m not in favor of tabling something only to give the developer more time… If he has true intentions on meeting with the community and having a meeting with them, a town hall, something a little more official, then I’m OK with that. But not to just give them more time.” The Chairman disagreed, “Well, I don’t think time is going to resolve anything in this particular situation.” Plus regarding the applicant, “We’re here to give them the courtesy if they make a request through that application process.”

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted clarified that the main issue was the date issue. Alleged County Attorney G. Walter Elliott reminded them they have to vote to table (the Chairman cannot just unilaterally table).

Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know if the Planning Commission knew about the timing issue. Continue reading

Videos: Seven minutes for three appointments, one subdivision streets, and alcohol, plus long County Manager Reports @ LCC 2022-05-10

Two weeks ago, the six-minute Reports took almost as long as the entire rest of the Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

[Appointments and Reports]
Appointments and Reports

Clay Griner did show up to vote on an item in his district, but Scottie Orenstein did not: 6.b. Adopt Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for Grove Pointe Phase V Sect 2. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall was also absent. Commissioners Joyce Evans and Mark Wisenbaker were present both at the Work Session and this Regular Session. Chairman Bill Slaughter was present.

County Manager Paige Dukes was also present, giving many Reports, assisted in a video about Griner Park at Webster and Ashley Street.

Commissioner Joyce Evans provided some amusment, Continue reading

Videos: Five minutes for three appointments, one subdivision streets, and alcohol @ LCC 2022-05-09

Update 2022-05-23: Regular Session Videos: Seven minutes for three appointments, one subdivision streets, and alcohol, plus long County Manager Reports @ LCC 2022-05-10.

In the five-minute Work Session yesterday morning, the few Commissioners who showed up breezed through everything with no discussion. Commissioners Scottie Orenstein and Clay Griner were absent, even though this is in their districts: 6.b. Adopt Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for Grove Pointe Phase V Sect 2. But of course it is expected that the Commission will approve that item this evening at 5:30 PM. County Manager Paige Dukes was also absent, in her case due to illness.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. There are no notes, because nothing happened worth commenting on. See also Continue reading

Videos: Stealth Commission district reapportionment and half million dollar developer giveaway @ LCC 2022-01-25

As expected, the Lowndes County Commission at its Regular Session passed the half million dollar bailout for a developer.

Not expected, they changed the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to approve new Commission district maps and a resolution supporting them, for immediate transmission to the state.

One citizen wishing to be heard spoke about the never ending noise from the 15 month old Arglass factory.

[Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts]
Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts

Developer Bailout

For 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC County Manager Paige Dukes said staff acted at the direction of the Commissioners, seeming to distance herself and staff from this action.

Reapportionment

I’m guessing the added agenda item was 5.l..

Vice Chair Joyce Evans, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Chair Bill Slaughter, introduced the agenda change for district reapportionment indicating the Commissioners all already knew this was going to happen. Continue reading

Videos: Valwood award, river gauges, Comprehensive Plan, Alcohol @ LCC Regular 2021-10-25

Update 2021-11-08: Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing 2 @ LCC 2021-10-26.

The County Manager said the Character Area Maps were not changing in the Comprehensive Plan Update, so she expected the Public Hearing Tuesday to be brief, but a quorum would be required. At the end, I thanked the Commissioners for not changing the character area maps and asked them to follow them in future rezonings.

[County Manager, PIO, Valwood Valiants, Character Area Maps]
County Manager, PIO, Valwood Valiants, Character Area Maps

The river gauge funding and the beer and wine license sailed through unanimously. The longest items were the two part Proclamation Presentation to Valwood Valiants Volleyball Team and the County Manager’s Report.

Here are links to each LAKE video of each agenda (and non-agenda) item, with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of the same morning’s Work Session, the agenda, and the board packet which we received in response to a LAKE open records request and put on the LAKE website. Some day the county will put its own board packets on its own website. Continue reading

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

Update 2021-11-08: Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing 2 @ LCC 2021-10-26.

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