Tag Archives: fiscal responsibility

About that flyer

Sent Wednesday. -jsq

Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2013 19:43:49 -0500

Dear Mr. Pritchard,

Thank you for your message of 1 February.

Yes, the binders of the documents for the closings of the various bonds are the sort of financial instruments I requested in my message of 28 January, and that Chairman Slaughter listed in his letter dated 18 January (that I received 28 January). Monday 11 Feb 2013 after the Work Session will be a good time for me to inspect and copy those binders. I will bring a camera and a photocopier. If that time will not work, please advise me of times that would.

Yes, there are other documents I would like to inspect. Please provide

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I have obtained the binder of the documents —Joe Pritchard

The County Manager has found the legal documents on issuance of the the bonds Chairman Slaughter listed in his letter of 18 January.

Received yesterday (as a *.docx file, and still to the wrong email address, but this time including both residence and postal addresses), County Manager Joe Pritchard followed up on his email of 29 January, in which he had seemed puzzled about the term "financial instruments" (it's a standard term in business and investing) such as I asked for 28 January. I thank Mr. Pritchard once again for responding. (I thanked Chairman Bill Slaughter in person the other day.) The relevant correspondance about the flyer that Mr. Pritchard previously wrote was created by the VDT is still missing. I will ask for that Monday, when I respond to Mr. Pritchard's most courteous offer to inspect the financial instruments.

Here's Mr. Pritchard's letter. -jsq

Joe Pritchard February 1, 2013

John Quarterman
6565 Quarterman Road
3338 Country Club Road #L336
Valdosta, GA 31605

Dear Mr. Quarterman:

To follow up my email of yesterday, I have obtained the binder of the documents executed at the closing of the $15,500,000 CVDA

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Created by the newspaper, not the county —Joe Pritchard

Thanks to County Manager Joe Pritchard for responding to my letter of Monday. He partly (but not completely) answered my question by saying the VDT did it. More on that later.

He included a PDF copy of Bill Slaughter’s letter of January 18th. Perhaps Mr. Pritchard was unaware that letter didn’t reach me until after my letter of Monday, because the county sent it to the wrong address. Mr. Pritchard’s email response was also sent to the wrong address, although fortunately email to that business address does reach me. He also copied the Chairman at his business address instead of at his Lowndes County address. In any case, electronic copy is almost always more useful than paper, so I thank Mr. Pritchard for sending that PDF copy.

Here’s Mr. Pritchard’s letter. -jsq

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Regarding the recently refinanced bonds —Bill Slaughter

Many thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter for taking the time to respond to a citizen's question in Citizens Wishing to Be Heard! The response didn't actually answer my question, but that may be because the question wasn't clear enough without a copy of the flyer that claimed the county's new judicial and administrative complex was "100% Paid by SPLOST" and "$0 Balance Owed"; see next post.

An hour or two after I sent a letter to County Manager Joe Pritchard Monday, someone from the county called to say Chairman Bill Slaughter had sent me a letter in response to my question to the Commission about bonds, but it had been returned by the Post Office. As you can see by the image of the envelope, they sent it to my residence address, where I don't get mail. That's why I always include my postal address on Citizens Wishing to Be Heard forms, open records requests, etc. Anyway, they made it available for pickup at the county palace. Ten days after the PO sent it back to them is better than never.

Here's Chairman Slaughter's letter. -jsq

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Dear Mr. Pritchard: How are we paying on something that was 100% paid off? —John S. Quarterman

I sent this today. -jsq

From: John S. Quarterman <questions@quarterman.com>
Cc: bslaughter@lowndescounty.com, jevans@lowndescounty.com, rraines@lowndescounty.com, cpowell@lowndescounty.com, dmarshall@lowndescounty.com, jpage@lowndescounty.com, questions@quarterman.com
Subject: How are we paying on something that was 100% paid off?

Dear Mr. Pritchard,

You may recall that at the Lowndes County Commission meeting of the 8th of January 2013, I asked the following:

“When this building complex was opened in 2010, the county put out a double-sheet flyer saying it was completely paid off out of SPLOST money, with zero dollars owed. I’m wondering how it is that then, either in November or December, the Commission just before your one here, refinanced bonds that included I think it was six or seven million dollars for this very building complex? I’m very confused by that. I wonder if someone could clarify how we’re paying on something that was completely 100% paid off with zero owed.”

I asked Commissioner Crawford Powell this question at the going-away reception for former Chairman Ashley Paulk on 14 December 2012, and he referred me to you for an answer. It has been more than two weeks since I asked in a Commission Regular Session and I have received no answer. So I ask again.


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ACLU and 60 policy and religious groups ask states to reject CCA’s prison privatization offer

What do the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, The Sentencing Project, the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have in common? They all want states to reject CCA’s offer to 48 states to buy prisons. Right here in Lowndes County, our Industrial Authority wants to go one better for CCA and help build a shiny fresh new private prison with our tax dollars.

PR from yesterday, ACLU Urges States to Reject CCA Offer to Privatize Prisons,

The American Civil Liberties Union and a broad coalition of 60 policy and religious groups today urged states to reject a recent offer by the nation’s largest private prison company to buy and privatize state prisons.

In a letter sent to governors in every state, the ACLU and 26 other organizations said a recent offer by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to buy prisons currently run by state officials is a backdoor invitation to take on additional debt while increasing CCA’s profits and impeding the serious criminal justice reforms needed to combat the nation’s mass incarceration crisis.

Two similar letters are also being sent today by religious coalitions to governors. One of the letters, sent by 32 faith groups including the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, the United Church of Christ/Justice and Witness Ministries, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, says there is a moral imperative in reducing incarceration through evidence-based alternatives to imprisonment and re-entry policies that ease the transition of prisoners back into society. A third letter, from the Presbyterian Criminal Justice Network, argues that the principles of mercy, forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation are largely absent from the private prison industry.

“Selling off prisons to CCA would be a tragic mistake for your state,” the ACLU’s letter reads. “[CCA’s] proposal is an invitation to fiscal irresponsibility, prisoner abuse and decreased public safety. It should be promptly declined.”

You can help decline CCA’s private prison in Lowndes County.


Private prisons —Matt Flumerfelt

Received yesterday. -jsq
Dear Andrea, We spoke not long ago by phone. I just want to let you know that plans to bring in a private prison here are not going to sit well with many of us. In fact, it will most likely bring about a repeat of the recent Biomass issue. I don’t mean we are opposed to it. I mean we are vehemently opposed to it. It seems that Allen Ricketts and the other Board members don’t understand that Valdosta’s citizens don’t want to be informed of, for example, what finished products and raw materials will be stored in the distribution center slated to locate in Valdosta AFTER the contract has been signed. We have a right to know beforehand what kind of facility it is and what will be stored there. Informing us after the fact is not transparency. This is an issue that will continue to be revisited as long as the VLCIA continues to act unilaterally without considering the wishes of those who live here. We don’t want to be presented with a fait accompli. Also, the VLCIA is really not doing due diligence when it continues to court businesses that raise concerns over the ethical standards of the Board itself. Thanks. Matt Flumerfelt

Opposed to a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. —John S. Quarterman, et al.

A private prison in Lowndes County would be a bad business decision: it would not increase employment, it would be likely to close because of lack of “customers”, and it would drive away knowledge-based workers. The letter I read to the Industrial Authority Board and Staff Tuesday on behalf of some members of the community sumarizes appended documentation of all those and other points.

If you’d also like to sign, I’m still collecting signatures, and will periodically drop off more signed copies. Or, even better, write your own letter and send it to the Industrial Authority. Submit it to this blog and we’ll probably publish it.

Here’s the video:

Opposed to a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. —John S. Quarterman
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Tom Call, Roy Copeland chairman, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett,
Andrea Schruijer Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Project Manager,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 18 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Text of the letter is appended; follow the link for the documentation. Continue reading