Tag Archives: Decatur County

Georgia Power buys 99MW in two Georgia solar projects

Decatur County scores two big solar projects. When will Lowndes County get a move on in solar? How about some projects like this at your empty industrial parks, Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority? Now that even Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning is bragging about renewable energy, maybe the solar sun is shining enough for other local governments to see it.

Southern Company PR, PRnewsWire, 20 February 2015, Southern Company subsidiary acquires two Georgia solar projects totaling 99 megawatts,

Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power today announced the acquisition of two photovoltaic (PV) solar projects totaling 99 megawatts (MW) in Georgia — the 80-MW Decatur Parkway Solar Project and the 19-MW Decatur County Solar Project — from Tradewind Energy, Inc.

The projects were proposed by Continue reading

Decatur County already went from private prison to solar park

Decatur County, that’s turning an industrial park into a solar park; why is that county familiar? Because it’s the other county that thought it was getting a CCA private prison last year!

Decatur County has already moved on from that boondoggle that would have prisoners competing with local workers while not increasing local employment. Decatur County is already well along towards a solar park that could bring “400 hundred thousand a year in tax revenue”. Has our Industrial Authority got anything in negotiations for a solar park? How about our Airport Authority? And what is Georgia Power doing to help?


Industrial park from green grass to a green solar future: Decatur County

Our Industrial Authority is in favor of solar business now; what if they seeded some of their industrial parks with solar panels like Decatur County is doing? They think it will make them look like a progressive county. What do we think?

Ty Wilson wrote for WTXL 7 Dec 2012, A solar park is coming to the Decatur County Industrial Park,

The Decatur County Industrial park will go from having green grass to having a green future.

A Lenexa, Kansas company is building a solar farm at the Decatur County Industrial Park.

The Decatur County Industrial park will go from having green grass to having a green future.

Keith Lyle is the chairman of the Bainbridge Decatur Development Authority, he says, “We are just extremely excited to have this come for the community.”

Decatur County Solar Park in solar Megawatt context And, it’s private investment!

Trade Winds Energy is leasing at least 100 acres to put in solar panels at ten thousand dollars a year.

Company executives says they will invest 17 million dollars into the project.

Lyle says, “This will add from the tax aspect a significant revenue stream. When it is all said and done you are looking at a taxable amount of 40 million is assets. On the project that is 400 hundred thousand a year in tax revenue.”

Trade Wind Energy doesn’t list this project yet (and all the projects they do list are wind projects), but if we take a rule of thumb Continue reading

Georgia EPD to suspend consideration of some new farm water permit applications 07/30/2012

In case you had any doubt we’re in serious drought conditions, here’s a PR from GA EPD of 30 July 2012 suspending new agricultural water permits in numerous southwest Georgia counties, as close as Colquitt County, which adjoins Lowndes County.


The Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has announced that consideration of new applications for agricultural water withdrawal permits in a 24­county area ofsouthwest Georgia will be suspended. The suspension takes effect immediately, but does not apply to applications EPD has already received as of this date.

Map of SW GA suspended water permit regions

Map of SW GA suspended water permit regions

Continue reading

Save money by streamlining the state penal code

Even the Bainbridge and Decatur County Post-Searchlight publishes news about their very own state legislator explaining one of the biggest reasont why prisons are a bad bet for a local economy: because we can’t afford to lock up so many people anymore.

Brennan Leathers wrote 6 January 2012, Georgia legislature going back to work State Senator John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee):

“We’re still struggling to find revenue to pay for operation of the state government and its services,” Bulloch said. “We’re going to have to fill holes that we filled during worse economic times using federal stimulus money and other temporary money.”

Bulloch said he also understands Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has instructed Georgia’s department heads to include 2-percent cuts in their budget requests for this year.

One way in which legislators might opt to save money is by streamlining its criminal penal code. According to Bulloch, Georgia has a very high number of people serving supervised probation or parole.

“A lot of those people who are in prison or under close supervision by state officers are serving sentences for non-violent offenses or minor felonies,” Bulloch said. “We may look at alternative means for dealing with them, such as creating drug courts or setting up drug-testing centers that would monitor drug offenders without imprisoning them.”

Which would mean fewer people in prison. Which would mean no need for new prisons. And some existing prisons might close.

Do we want a private prison in Lowndes County so more prisoners can compete with local workers here, too? If you don’t think so, remember CCA says community opposition can impede private prison site selection. Here’s a petition urging the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authorithy to stop the CCA private prison. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.


Decatur County newspaper wants more prisoners who compete with local wo rkers

The Decatur County newspaper brags about prisoners competing with free labor, while helping try to attract another prison.

Brennan Leathers wrote for the Post-Searchlight 3 January 2010, Walls going up at new ag building,

Work on Decatur County’s new agricultural office building is quickly progressing, with interior walls being put up and the installation of a roof soon to follow.

Decatur County Prison inmates with carpentry and construction experience were working hard last Friday, putting up the interior walls inside the 9,724-square-foot building under construction near the Cloud Agricultural Building off Vada Road.

Which means some local workers with carpentry and construction experience were not working on that project.

Do we want a private prison in Lowndes County so more prisoners can compete with local workers here, too? If you don’t think so, remember CCA says community opposition can impede private prison site selection. Here’s a petition urging the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority to stop the CCA private prison.


Who are the “local leadership” who approved CCA’s private prison?

They’re even quieter about it than the Industrial Authority, but the Valdosta City and Lowndes County governments are in the private prison deal just as deep.

Jay Hollis, CCA’s Manager of Site Acquisition, in his Valdosta-Lowndes County, GA / CCA Partnership: Prepared Remarks of August 2010, wrote:

Our Valdosta/Lowndes County site quickly became our primary due to its local and regional workforce, collaboration of local leadership, site characteristics, proximity to necessary services and infrastructure, and accessibility to name a few.
So who is this local leadership?
We look forward to working closely with Valdosta/Lowndes leadership as we move forward in the months to come.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to recognize a few folks that have been essential to the project:

Continue reading

Why did CCA pick Lowndes County for a private prison?

Apparently CCA picked Lowndes County for a private prison for reasons that were not what VLCIA’s consultant seemed to think would influence the selection.

According to Valdosta-Lowndes County, GA / CCA Partnership: Talking Points (undated, but it refers to “The agreement formalized by the Industrial Authority on 8/17”),

The Valdosta/Lowndes site became the primary due to the local and regional workforce, collaboration of local leadership, site characteristics, proximity to necessary services and infrastructure, accessibility, etc.
Nothing in there about low poverty or high wages. One could even read that the other way around, as in a low-wage population looking for jobs.

Looks to me like our Industrial Authority didn’t do much due diligence about private prisons.

Also note that the contract of 17 August 2010 between VLCIA and CCA was signed after the announcement in July 2010 that CCA had selected Decatur County. More about that in another post.


Apparently VLCIA misunderstood what CCA was looking for

Apparently VLCIA, or one of its expert consultants, thought CCA was looking for a thriving county economy in choosing a private prison location. That doesn’t seem to be what happened.

Economic Impact of Project Excel by Clifford A. Lipscomb, Ph.D., 2 November 2009:

The VLCIA has noted that Project Excel is considering other locations. Below I provide a comparison of key economic indicators for these alternative counties — Grady and Decatur.
Table 1. Characteristics of Selected Counties
Population, 2008 28,82325,115104,583
% Pop w/ Bachelor’s degree 12.1%10.6%19.7%
Median HH Income, 2007 32,65033,06038,666
Persons below poverty, 2007 22.5%22.2%20.5%
Persons white non-Hispanic, 2008 54.8%60.6%60.0%
In closing, it appears that Project Excel is an excellent candidate for location in Lowndes County.
So which other county did CCA actually pick? Continue reading

Georgia following Florida down the private prison path

Florida is already forging down the path Georgia wants to follow on private prisons. Steve Bousquet writes in the Miami Herald:
The Florida Legislature’s push to privatize many more prisons, its most far-reaching cost-cutting plan in years, could open a lucrative door to politically connected vendors who stand to profit.

Senate and House budgets require the state to privatize prisons in South Florida, home to one-fifth of the statewide inmate population of 101,000. The region is the home of the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest private prison operator, which currently runs two private prisons, including the largest private lockup, the Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Milton.

Why is this path so popular with the Florida legislature? Continue reading