Tag Archives: Economy

Roads, rezoning, sales tax, Sunday alcohol, and Troupville River Camp @ VCC 2019-12-05

Unusual on the Valdosta City Council agenda for Thursday are an award to Valdosta Main Street and a request by WWALS Watershed Coalition for support for its Troupville River Camp project; see also WWALS blog post.

Downtown Valdosta aerial logo
Photo: via Valdosta Today.

Possibly controversial is the item to allow Sunday Alcohol Sales to begin at 11:00 a.m. Business as usual includes a rezoning several road widening and other traffic improvement items.

Here is the agenda.

AGENDA
REGULAR MEETING OF THE VALDOSTA CITY COUNCIL
5:30 PM Thursday, December 5, 2019
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL

  1. Opening Ceremonies
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation
    3. Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag
  2. Awards and Presentations
    1. Special Recognition of the Valdosta Main Street Program as a Georgia Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Downtown Development.
    2. Consideration of a request for a Special Presentation at the December 5, 2019 Regular City Council Meeting.
    3. Consideration of the December, 2019 Employee of the Month Award (Sergeant Heather Willis, Valdosta Police Department).
  3. Minutes Approval
    1. Valdosta City Council – Regular Meeting – Nov 7, 2019 5:30 PM
  4. Public Hearings
    1. Consideration of an Ordinance to rezone 6.70 acres from Planned Mixed Use Development (PMD) to Highway-Commercial (C-H) by Quick Trip Corporation (File No. VA-2019-08). The property is located at 1394 North St. Augustine Road. The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission reviewed this request at their November Regular Meeting and recommended approval (8-0 Vote).
    2. Consideration of an Ordinance for Text Amendments to Chapter 102 – General Provisions, Chapter 106 – Definitions, Chapter 242 – Zoning Procedures, Chapter 302 – Subdivision and Site Development Standards, and Chapter 332 – Infrastructure and Site Improvements of the City of Valdosta Land Development Regulations (File No. VA-2019-09). The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission reviewed this request at their November Regular Meeting and recommended approval (8-0 Vote).
  5. Ordinances and Resolutions
    1. Consideration of an Ordinance to amend the City of Valdosta’s Alcohol Ordinance to allow Sunday Alcohol Sales to begin at 11:00 a.m.
    2. Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Revenue to provide sales tax information to the City of Valdosta’s Finance Director.
    3. Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the acceptance of a Contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the Eager Road/Jerry Jones Widening Project.
  6. Bids, Contracts, Agreements and Expenditures
    1. Consideration of bids for traffic improvements at the intersection of Park Avenue and Forrest Street.
    2. Consideration of bids for a Front-End Loading Dumpster Garbage Truck for the Public Works Department.
    3. Consideration of a request to approve a Contract for new water meters for the City of Valdosta.
  7. Local Funding and Requests
    1. Consideration of a request to approve street selections for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) Program.
    2. Consideration of a request from the WWALS Watershed Coalition for a Letter of Support for the Troupville River Camp.
  8. City Manager’s Report
  9. Council Comments
  10. Citizens to be Heard
  11. Adjournment

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Videos: Grants and bids, Law, Transportation, Water, and Roof Cleaning @ LCC 2019-11-11

The longest item at yesterday morning’s Work Session was the unscheduled 8. Reports County Manager – Recognition of Fire Safety. The whole thing took less than nine minutes. They vote tonight at 5:30 PM.

Second longest was the Solicitor General combining the two items on Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Third longest was 7.a.Judicial and Administrative Complex Roof Cleaning

Below are Continue reading

Grants and bids, Law, Transportation, Water, and Roof Cleaning @ LCC 2019-11-11

In a session of house-cleaning (including literally), Lowndes County is updating its Revision of the County Occupation Tax Ordinance,

with detailed definitions and tax classifications for every occupation in the county.

The mysterious Joint Ordinance the Planning Commission keeps cryptically alluding to turns out to be about revising the charter of the Planning Commission to add Remerton, to note Lowndes County now handles GLPC’s budget, and other updates.

The county is applying for a Georgia Department of Transportation Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant (LMIG) for resurfacing roads, many of them in subdivisions.

[2020 LMIG Project Report]
2020 LMIG Project Report

And a GDOT grant for the MIDS on-call bus system.

The county is approving Approval of the Submittal Resolution for the CDBG-EIP Grant Application for Street Paving and Drainage Improvements to Support the Arglass Project, with $750,000 to come from CDBG-EIP funds, and the remainder of $325,591 from the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority. The county also has A Resolution to Support Eliminating Through Tractor Trailer Truck Traffic Downtown Valdosta. And it is fixing a misfiling of the deed for Chitty Park by transfering it to VLPRA for VLPRA to then transfer back to Lowndes County.

Sewage will be aided by a new Hart Road Lift Station Pump, and safety by Bids for a New Generator for 911.

[Electrical Demolition Plan]
Electrical Demolition Plan

[Electrical New Work Plan]
Electrical New Work Plan

Plus Bids for Lowndes County Judicial and Administrative Complex Roof Cleaning.

There are two Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) items, for the Solicitor General and for the District Attorney, and one Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) item for the Solicitor General.

Received 3:48 PM, Friday, November 8, 2019, “The agenda packet for next week’s meetings is attached. The October 21 & 22, 2019, minutes will be available Monday.” That Lowndes County Commission in response to a LAKE open records request is now on the LAKE website.

Here is the agenda. Continue reading

Valdosta Chamber Candidate Forum 2019-10-08

Meet the Candidates 2019, organized by the Valdosta Lowndes Chamber of Commerce: no questions from the audience, but Gretchen Quarterman videoed for LAKE the few minutes each candidate for Valdosta Mayor, City Council, or Valdosta Board of Education held forth. Plus seven minutes about SPLOST, the Special Local Option Sales Tax, the only thing voters in the unincorporated parts of Lowndes County get to vote on this election season.

Mike Gudley talks about the SPLOST referendum

Below are links to each LAKE video Gretchen took, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

Continue reading

Valdosta City Council Town Hall 2019-09-30

Most people missed a chance to ask whatever they wanted of the Valdosta City Council, without time limits or fear of ejection from the room. This town hall, hosted by Council members Andy Gibbs and Eric Howard, apparently was not announced on Valdosta’s own website nor in the Valdosta Daily Times. But Gretchen Quarterman was there for LAKE and videoed it, and provided the notes below. The few people who did attend were interested enough to take an hour and a half of their time to participate in the community and local government.


      People are sometimes afraid to speak

George Boston Rhynes noted that people might fear even coming to this kind of meeting, because of fear of retaliation, by being blackballed for jobs, or in other ways.

Lowndes County Commissioner Scottie Orenstein was there, and occasionally answered, as did Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll. City Council Sonny Vickers was also there.

Sidewalks were a major topic. Gretchen wondered why every street doesn’t have one. Instead, the city thinks it will improve traffic on Bemiss Road by making it wider.

Naturally, Taxes in County and City and property values were a major topic. Valdosta City Council Sandra Tooley said she thought sidewalks make property values go up, so why should the county get any of that tax money when the city paid to put the sidewalks in? Others misunderstood that, and more discussion ensued. People remain confused about how SPLOST works between city and county.

Back on transportation, a final speaker spelled out how Valdosta is not bicycle-friendly, so children can’t ride bicycles to school, students to VSU, employees to work, or people to see friends, because it is not safe. Same for Lowndes County: not safe for this healthy, family-friendly activity and transportation method. Andy Gibbs said this is one of the topics being gathered into the Parks and Rec. Master Plan, currently in progress.

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

Videos: Jury, Paving, and GEFA in Work Session @ LCC 2019-09-23

The Lowndes County Commission spent nine minutes yesterday morning discussing spending $124,454 and borrowing $1,734,000. They vote this evening at 5:30 PM.

The county has now gotten up to not just demanding landowners give road right of way to the county, but also condemning property if they don’t get it donated.

The longest item at less than two minutes was 6.d. Request for Professional Engineering Services Proposals – CDBG. As Gretchen remarks in the notes, apparently this is in support of Arglas, the Japanese glass products manufacturer locating on Rocky Ford Road.

Second longest was 7.b. Bid for a Breathing Air System for the Fire Department, due to a question by a Commissioner.

Below are Continue reading

Jury, Paving, and GEFA in LCC Packet @ LCC 2019-09-23

Lowndes County staff are proposing to spend $124,454, according to all the “BUDGET IMPACT”s board packet: $48,500 for a Jury Management System, $1,469.00 for Condemning ROW for Howell Lane Paving Project, $3,500.00 (approx.) for Second Modification of GEFA Loan Agreement, and for the Fire Department $29,195.00 for a 1/2 Ton Truck and $41,790.00 for a Breathing Air System.

[Survey plat: Revised County RoW for Howell Lane]
Survey plat: Revised County RoW for Howell Lane

They propose to borrow $1,734,000 from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).

The Lowndes County Commission discusses Monday morning at 8:30 AM. They vote 5:30 PM Tuesday.

[Project Budget]
GEFA Loan Agreement Project Budget

For the first time ever! Lowndes County has returned the board packet before the Work Session.

LAKE sent an open records request Tuesday, and the county actually supplied the packet Friday, with this note: Continue reading

Lowering the Millage Rate @ LCC Millage 2019-08-27

Finance Director Stephanie Black said due to the Property Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, if the tax digest (total assessed property value in the county) goes up, the county has to reduce the millage (tax per $1,000 of property value), or announce the difference as a tax increase and hold three public hearings, so they’re rolling back the millage rate slightly: 0.126 mills, down from 11.064 for 2018 to 10.938 for 2019. That’s Georgia Senate Bill 177, Act 431, signed April 30, 1999, effective January 1, 2000. Here is the millage resolution they adopted half an hour later, in the board packet, which LAKE only received after this millage meeting and after the Commission voted on this millage change:

[A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE 2019 AD VALOREM TAX MILLAGES FOR LOWNDES COUNTY]
A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE 2019 AD VALOREM TAX MILLAGES FOR LOWNDES COUNTY

She showed some quite informative slides, which for unknown reasons do not seem to be on the Finance Department’s web page. For example, she had a nice summary slide of the five chunks of sales tax these days:

  • 4 cents to the State of Georgia,
  • 1 cent to Local Option Sales Tax (LOST), split between county and its cities for property tax reduction,
  • 1 cent to Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), split between county and its cities for capital improvements,
  • 1 cent to Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST), split between the county and city school systems for capital improvements
  • 1 cent to Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST), regionally approved, and split between the county and its cities for transportation capital improvements.

Billed on the lowndescounty.com calendar as Millage Meeting, 5PM, Tuesday, 27 August 2019, in Commission Chambers before the voting Regular Session, as usual almost nobody attended, and nobody from the public spoke.

But you can see the whole eight-minute meeting for yourself. Here’s a LAKE video playlist:


Lowering the Millage Rate
Millage Meeting, Lowndes County Commission (LCC Millage),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, August 27, 2019.

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Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Videos: SPLOST VIII, Grassy Pond Sewer, and Hospital Authority funding @ LCC 2019-07-23

Five and a half minutes of the Regular Session fifteen minutes was on the county guaranteeing refinancing Hospital Authority debt, due to County Manager Joe Pritchard reciting what’s in the agreement, and Hospital Authority CEO Bill Forbes speaking, and Chairman Bill Slaughter thanking him. The agreement is in the board packet on the LAKE website from a LAKE open records request.

Hospital Authority

Citizen Michelle Williams of Hahira asked for a spay and neuter ordinance, noting Macon and Dalton have those already. County Clerk Paige Dukes praised Michelle Williams and other volunteers.

Second at almost two minutes was Continue reading

Special Called Meeting to approve SPLOST VIII Projects @ LCC 2019-07-31

You got a notice about this meeting two days in advance, if you signed up for the county’s alerts, which is twice as long as they usually do. Special Called Meeting,

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
A special called meeting will be held to adopt the amended SPLOST VIII Agreement.

Date: July 31, 2019

Time: 8:30 AM

Location: Board of Commissioners
Administration Building

Address: 327 N. Ashley Street
2nd Floor
Valdosta, GA 31601

[Lowndes Project List]
Lowndes Project List
PDF

Here is Lowndes County’s SPLOST VIII Project List. The biggest items are water and sewer at $23 million and sports at $13,274,912, followed by the historic Courthouse at $12 million. Note nothing about Continue reading