Tag Archives: Economy

Regional College & Career Academy Update –Mary Beth Brownlee of OVL to LCC 2024-06-10

Thanks to Mary Beth Brownlee for the slides she presented to the Lowndes County Commission on June 10 about a proposed Regional College & Career Academy.

[Collage]
Collage

The slides are on the LAKE website, and images of each slide are below.

For the LAKE video of her presentation, see:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/?p=24384

-jsq

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!
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/donate

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Agenda: Budget Hearing @ LCC 2024-06-13

Update 2024-06-17: Video and Slides: Budget Hearing @ LCC 2024-06-13.

Maybe you’d like to be the one citizen who shows up at the Lowndes County budget hearing this morning.

[Budget Hearing @ LCC 2024-06-13 Public Hearing on the proposed FY 2025 Budget]
Budget Hearing @ LCC 2024-06-13 Public Hearing on the proposed FY 2025 Budget

Other than Gretchen Quarterman, who is on her way with the LAKE video camera. Which is the only way most people will know what went on there, since the county does not video budget hearings.

The agenda, posted “Jun 13, 2024 7:56 AM”.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PUBLIC HEARING ON THE PROPOSED FY 2025 BUDGET
THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2024, 9:00 A.M.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

  1. Call To Order
  2. Public Hearing
    1. Presentation of the Proposed FY 2025 Budget
      Recommended Action:
      Documents:
  3. Adjournment

It says “Documents:” but no documents were attached.

On the Finance department web page, the Most Recent document is the operating budget for fiscal year 2024 (not 2025).

I have filed an open records request for the presentation slides and any other materials for today’s budget hearing.

-jsq

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!
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/donate

Video and Slides: Budget Hearing @ LCC 2024-06-13

If you missed the June 13 Budget Public Hearing, presumably you may get another chance at the next Lowndes County Commission meeting.

The vast majority of revenue for the Lowndes County government comes from taxes.

Most of that comes from property taxes, and almost a third from Local Option Sales Tax (LOST).

Only about a fifth of General Fund expenditures goes to the general government, about an eighth each to Public Works and to Judicial, while a third goes to the Sheriff’s Office.

[LAKE video and Finance Dept. Slides: Budget Hearing @ LCC 2024-06-13]
LAKE video and Finance Dept. Slides: Budget Hearing @ LCC 2024-06-13

Here is the LAKE video of the 9 AM, June 13, 2024, PUBLIC HEARING ON THE PROPOSED FY 2025 BUDGET.
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLshUv86fYkiEWkgeC7dlEnYHi7FxjWHLh&si=wKn4TCmyAfliQArs


Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

The presentation slides, received in response to a LAKE open records request, are on the LAKE website.

They are not yet on the Continue reading

Videos: Academy Drive septic tank citizen request, Glenn Road, Valencia Street, Kinderlou Clyattville Road Paving @ LCC Regular 2024-06-11

Citizen Patricia Scoby doesn’t want to have to elevate her septic tank. However, the Board of Roads and Revenue, excuse me, the Lowndes County Commission doesn’t have much say over that: that’s the Health Department. But the Health Department should have taken into account the changed drainage such mounds cause.

[Collage @ LCC 11 June 2024]
Collage @ LCC 11 June 2024

The regular agenda breezed through unanimously at the 11-minute Regular Session. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall was absent.

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker did want to know what are the ingress and egress points for 5.a. REZ-2024-13 Carter, 6128 Glenn Road, 4.72ac, E-A to R-1, Well – Septic. No citizens spoke for or against in its Public Hearing.

For the 6.a. Valencia Street Quitclaim Deeds, Gretchen wondered, “Personally, I’m curious why the commission abandoned that little bit (one lot’s worth) of Valencia Street.” The board packet for this latest Regular Session included the relevant excerpt from the Minutes of the September 27, 2005, Regular Session. Gretchen quoted it, but it also does not say why. In the latest Regular Session, County Engineering Services Director Chad McLeod said the adjoining landowners asked for the quitclaim deeds, but he did not say why the road was abandoned back in 2005.

FYI, the Agenda Center on lowndescounty.com only goes back to 2012. If you want to see earlier minutes, you either have to file an open records request or have already done so, as LAKE did years ago.

for 7.a. PI# 0016278 Kinderlou Clyattville Road Paving and Drainage Improvements, Chairman Bill Slaughter wanted to know if it was within the budget. Answer: no, but TIA says it’s within the inflationary amount, so TIA will cover the difference.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes by Gretchen Quarterman, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

See also the Continue reading

Agenda: Budget, Personal Care Home, streets and transit, 2 sewer repairs @ VCC 2024-06-06

Nobody attended the First Hearing of the proposed FY 2025 Valdosta Budget, so Thursday is your last chance, at the Second Hearing, at the Valdosta City Council meeting.

[Agenda: Budget, sewers, Personal Care Home, streets, and transit @ VCC 2024-06-06]
Agenda: Budget, sewers, Personal Care Home, streets, and transit @ VCC 2024-06-06

That budget includes a pending $67 million bond for water and sewer projects, with interest to be paid from the Water and Sewer Revenue Fund.

The agenda also includes a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a Personal Care Home, two street resurfacing projects, an amendment to the contract for the on-call transport cars, and two sewer repair projects.

Here is the agenda.

See also the preceding Planning Commission meeting.

AGENDA
REGULAR MEETING OF THE VALDOSTA CITY COUNCIL
5:30 PM Thursday, June 6, 2024
CITY HALL, COUNCIL CHAMBERS

  1. Opening Ceremonies
    1. Call to Order
    2. Invocation
    3. Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag
  2. Minutes Approval
    1. The Minutes from the May 9, 2024 Regular Meeting and the May 15, 2024 Special Called Meeting are forthcoming.
  3. Public Hearings
    1. Public Hearing for the Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget. (Second Hearing)
    2. Consideration of an Ordinance for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a Family Personal Care Home in a Single-Family Residential (R-6) Zoning District as requested by Roche Kempson (File No. CU-2024-04). The property is located at 1206 West Magnolia Street. The Planning Commission reviewed this at their May 20, 2024 Regular Meeting and recommended approval subject to four conditions (5-0 Vote).
  4. Ordinances and Resolutions
    1. Consideration of a Resolution authorizing the execution of a Contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the Patterson Street Resurfacing and Utility Adjustments Project.
  5. Bids, Contracts, Agreements and Expenditures
    1. Consideration of bids for the resurfacing of streets in the City of Valdosta through the SPLOST VIII Funding and GDOT Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant.
    2. Consideration of a request to amend the Contract with River North Transit, LLC and extend Via On-Demand Transportation Services for the City of Valdosta.
  6. Local Funding and Requests
    1. Consideration of a request to authorize payment for an emergency bypass and sewer repairs on Pebblewood Drive.
    2. Consideration of a request to authorize payment for Phase III final billing for emergency sewer repairs at Knights Creek near the intersection of U. S. Highway 84 and Blanchard Street.
  7. Citizens to be Heard
  8. City Manager’s Report
  9. Council Comments
  10. Adjournment

-jsq

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!
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/donate

Packet: Proposed Annual Budget, City of Valdosta, FY 2025, for Budget Meeting 2024-05-22

In this Proposed Annual Budget for the City of Valdosta Budget Meeting Wednesday afternoon, 3-8 PM, there are two bond series, one refinancing, the other new, both for water and sewer improvements.

Apparently the city has previously financed more than $32 million in loans from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), and last year floated a bond at a lower interest rate for about $22 million still to be paid.

Even more interesting, if I am reading it correctly, this budget proposes a new bond for $67 million.

Maybe the Valdosta City government is getting more serious about fixing their sewer system problems.

This is all in addition to the water and sewer improvements paid for by Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) line items, by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, or from other revenue; see below.

[Extracts, Proposed FY 2025 City of Valdosta Budget]
Extracts, Proposed FY 2025 City of Valdosta Budget

W&S 2020 Bond Series

  • Purpose: Refinance GEFA notes at a lower interest rate
  • Maturity Date: 2033
  • Original Principal Amount: $32,134,000; July 1, 2023, Principal Outstanding $22,264,065
  • Interest Rate: 2.29%
  • Funding Source: Water and Sewer Revenue Fund

Pending for FY 25 – estimate
W&S 2024 Bond Series

  • Purpose: Upgrades Water and Sewer
  • Maturity Date: 2054
  • Original Principal Amount: $67,000,000; July 1, 2023, Principal Outstanding $67,000,000
  • Interest Rate: 4.5%
  • Funding Source: Water and Sewer Revenue Fund

See page 49, Debt Service, FY 2025, City of Valdosta. Continue reading

Videos: Hurricane Recovery, Fire Department, expand Board of Tax Assessors, new water tower, appointments, election qualifying fees, insurance, and bids @ LCC Regular 2023-12-12

Update 2024-01-07: Appointing Tax Assessors is on the agenda for Monday, January 8, 2024.

Not on the agenda at the last 2023 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission were two items. Special Presentation – Hurricane Recovery was by two executives of the debris hauling company the county hired, plus Kristin Hannah of the Boys and Girls Club, which got a grant from the hauling company.

The second was Special Recognition – Fire Department – Toys for Tots. You can see these presentations and the agenda items in these LAKE videos.

They also added an agenda item, 7.n. Utility and Access Easement for Lochwinn Farms, for a James Road Extension parallel to the railroad.

[Collage @ LCC 12 December 2023]
Collage @ LCC 12 December 2023

They spent a bit more than a minute on 7.l. Expanding Board of Tax Assessors, about the same on 6.a. Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center and Tourism Authority, and two minutes on 6.b. Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority.

They will actually appoint three new Tax Assessors in their first 2024 meeting, on January 8th.

They unanimously approved everything, taking Continue reading

Videos: expand Board of Tax Assessors, new water tower, appointments, election qualifying fees, insurance, and bids @ LCC Work 2023-12-11

Update 2024-01-07: Videos: Hurricane Recovery, Fire Department, expand Board of Tax Assessors, new water tower, appointments, election qualifying fees, insurance, and bids @ LCC Regular 2023-12-12.

Hear Elaine Grice, Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Lowndes and Echols Counties. CASA advocates for children who have been abused or neglected, and who are often in foster care. Lowndes County was one of the last to sign on to the program.

Her 10 minutes accounted for a third of the half-hour Lowndes County Commission Work Session of December 11, 2023.

They spent a bit more than a minute on 7.l. Expanding Board of Tax Assessors. One issue, said County Manager Paige Dukes, was that with only three Assessors, two constitutes a quorum, which limited their flexibility for meetings.

Earlier, Commissioner Clay Griner asked about appointments of Tax Assessors, pointing out that Assessor James Puckett’s term was up; this was in 6.b. Appointment – Lowndes County Public Facilities Authority. Chairman Bill Slaughter said those appointments would be on a January agenda. In the actual item about Tax Assessors, the County Manager said James Puckett would remain an Assessor until somebody was appointed to replace him, which would happen in January.

Second longest item at almost four minutes was 7.j. Lowndes County Juvenile Accountability Court FY24 Enhancement – Innovation, because Commission Demarcus Marshall asked about 17-year-olds, who would soon be entering the work force. Judge Council said some nonprofits helped, and he welcomed any other resources.

Third at more than two minutes was 8.b. Bid for Security Services at the Human Resources Building. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall asked if armed security guards cost more, and would being armed make a difference. Chairman Bill Slaughter said these guards man the metal detectors to keep people from bringing firearms in. There was more discussion.

Two water items got about a minute and a half each. In 8.c. Moody AFB Emergency Backup Water Connection Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know how long will the connection be. In 8.d. New Elevated Water Tower located at 2650 James Road Extension, the $3.5 million item, Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted to know whether this tower was north of US 84. Utility Director Steve Stalvey said it would be south of US 84 but north of the railroad tracks. Nobody provided any detail for why it was being built. It’s probably not coincidence that this water tower comes after the March rezoning for a James Road apartment complex, which is apparently the same that was withdrawn back in August 2022. Let’s not forget all the previous subsidies to James Road (widening, water lines, etc.) after the infamous failed 2007 mega-mall boondoggle.

They ended with an Executive Session, of which we have no video.

[Collage @ LCC 11 December 2023]
Collage @ LCC 11 December 2023

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

See also the the agenda and the board packet. Continue reading

Packet: expand Board of Tax Assessors, new water tower, appointments, election qualifying fees, insurance, and bids @ LCC 2023-12-11

Update 2023-12-28: Videos: expand Board of Tax Assessors, new water tower, appointments, election qualifying fees, insurance, and bids @ LCC Work 2023-12-11.

Only tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM (or in the following LAKE video) will you hear from Elaine Grice, Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Lowndes and Echols Counties.

[Collage, LCC Packet, 2023-12-11]
Collage, LCC Packet, 2023-12-11

The rest of the agenda for the Lowndes County Commission is quite busy, with appointments to two boards, expansion of the Board of Tax Assessors from 3 to 5 members, among other items.

Cost What
$3,551,666.00New Elevated Water Tower located at 2650 James Road Extension
$886,352.50Moody AFB Emergency Backup Water Connection
$171,593.002024 ACCG Workers’ Compensation Insurance Renewal
$70,500.00UPS Replacement at the Naylor and Hahira Public Safety Radio System
$63,580.00Bid for Security Services at the Human Resources Building
$1,473.00Lowndes County Juvenile Accountability Court (LCJAC) FY24 Enhancement and Innovation Award
$0.00Loan to Valdosta Housing Authority
$4,745,164.50Total

Oh, and $3.5 million for a new water tower.

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

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2023, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2023, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

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Packet: Valdosta-Lowndes County Board of Appeals, including VAR-2023-13 Arglass 2023-06-06

They granted all three variances, for exterior building materials, for signs, and Arglass wants to expand for a second furnace, in their phase 2 planned since at least 2016.

Here are the board packet and the minutes of the June 6, 2023, meeting of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBOA), received in response to open records request to Valdosta and Lowndes County.

For Arglass, see also the WWALS blog post, Arglass GA-EPD air permit application for a second facility to produce glass containers 2023-07-17.

[Arglass maps]
Arglass maps

Continue reading