Tag Archives: GA 122

GT’s Wrecker Service rezoning denied @ LCC Regular 2023-10-10

Why do people apply for rezonings and then not show up to speak for them? But first, unscheduled items.

[Collage @ LCC 10 October 2023]
Collage @ LCC 10 October 2023

Chairman Bill Slaughter asked for an update on boat ramp improvements, and County Engineering Services Director Chad McLeod said he would provide that in a future meeting. That would be great, because there is much room for improvement at Clyattville-Nankin Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River and Folsom Bridge Landing on the Little River.

The other unscheduled item was the usual Chairman recognition of Leadership Lowndes and Youth Leadership. Why they don’t just put that on the agenda is mysterious.

Nobody spoke for, and one spoke against 6.b. REZ-2023-12 GT’S Wrecker Service Old Clyattville Rd,~3.2ac, C-H to M-2, with no rebuttal. Commisioners discussed it at some length (more than 11 minutes total). They seemed especially concerned that county staff would be stuck with inspecting to enforce the numerous conditions. Commissioners unanimously voted to deny.

This is similar to last month, when nobody spoke for the Quarterman Road rezoning, several spoke against people and a petition from many more people were against it, and it was unanimously denied, while someone spoke very briefly for the other rezoning in that meeting and it was unanimously approved. Maybe in both denied cases, last month and this month, the applicant saw the handwriting on the wall?

The applicant did speak for the other rezoning this time, 6.a. REZ-2023-11 2426 Joanna Drive, C-C(c) to R-1, 4.0ac, Well – Septic, nobody spoke against, nobody wanted to rebut, and Commissioners unanimously approved it.

They also unanimously approved everything else, including the numerous agreements with ABM, while never explaining who ABM is nor when they made the original agreement.

Second longest item was County Manager Paige Duke’s Report, in which she revealed that they only do their annual river cleanup because it is required by their NPDES Stormwater permit. She said since the county litter crew has been on the job for two years, there is not much to pick up at the boat ramps. She asked the state if they could “move to a different type of awareness event”. The state did not think that was a good idea, so they will continue with “our river cleanup”. “We will do that with our employees and any citizens that would like to participate.”

No mention of the City of Valdosta, which is supposedly co-sponsoring that event.

No mention of WWALS, which was not contacted in planning that event. WWALS already had scheduled since August a Langdale Park Withlacoochee River Cleanup 2023-10-20.

Unlike the previous morning’s Work Session, when three Commissioners were absent, they all showed up for this Regular Session. And it was Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker’s 72nd birthday.

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 Continue reading

Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09

Update 2023-10-15: GT’s Wrecker Service rezoning denied @ LCC Regular 2023-10-10.

The HVAC agreement includes 38 pages of covered buildings and rooms within them, ranging from several sites in Hahira to the wastewater treatment plant near the GA-FL line.

The materials received from Lowndes County in response to an open records request are on the LAKE website. Lowndes County says they sent the packet Saturday. It did not appear in LAKE’s email then, so apparently there was some sort of transmission error. In any case it is here now.

It will be easier for everyone when Lowndes County starts putting its board packets on its own websites, like many counties larger and smaller in Georgia and Florida have been doing for years.

See also:

[Collage @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09]
Collage @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09


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: Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Work 2023-10-09

Update 2023-10-10: Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Packet 2023-10-09.

The two special presentations only took about six minutes total, and most other items took half a minute each, so the entire Lowndes County Commission Work Session only took fourteen minutes yesterday.

Lowndes County Fire Chief Billy Young opened the check from Colquitt EMC after the meeting: it was for $35,000.

Only Commissioners Joyce Evans and Mark Wisenbaker and Chairman Bill Slaughter attended. Commissioners Scottie Orenstein, Demarcus Marshall, and Clay Griner were absent.

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

[Collage @ LCC 9 October 2023]
Collage @ LCC 9 October 2023

Continue reading

Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Agenda 2023-10-09

Update 2023-10-10: Videos: Colquitt EMC, Conference Center, 2 rezonings, 2 water, HVAC, Solar, Controls @ LCC Work 2023-10-09.

Despite four working days to do it, more than the three days allowed by the Georgia Open Records Act (GORA), Lowndes County has not returned the board packet for this week’s Lowndes County Commission meetings.

However, most of the materials for the two rezonings will probably be similar to what the county put in the preceding Planning Commission packet.

They also plan to spend a third of a million dollars, most of it on heating and air conditioning maintenance. The agenda sheet says, “Attached in your packet is an equipment list for each building to be maintained.”

But we the taxpayers don’t get to see that list, because the county does not publish its own board packets and, despite the state open records law, has not returned it so LAKE can publish it.

Cost What
$255,029.00HVAC Maintenance Agreement
$24,825.00Joint Funding Agreement with USGS for Stream Gauge Maintenance
$23,370.00Water Treatment Agreement
$0.00Solar Panel Maintenance Agreement
$0.00Quarterly Controls Inspection Agreement

[Collage @ LCC Agenda 2023-10-09]
Collage @ LCC Agenda 2023-10-09

Here is the agenda.

WORK SESSION, MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2023, 8:30 a.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

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: Millage Rate, 3 Alcohol, Animals @ LCC Work 2023-08-21

Update 2023-08-23: Videos: Danny Weeks, Millage Rate, 3 Alcohol, Animals, Paper Ballots @ LCC Regular 2023-08-22.

The millage rate settings (general and fire district) got the most discussion yesterday morning, as well they should, in the Lowndes County Commission Work Session. Finance Director Stephanie Black was absent because of COVID, so the main millage rate slide show was given by someone else.

[Collage @ LCC 21 August 2023]
Collage @ LCC 21 August 2023

Commissioners Clay Griner and Mark Wisenbaker had some questions, which elicited information about what lower millage rate would meet the county’s budget. Also a mill this year is worth about $4.2 million, while last year it was about $3.2 million. This is because increases in tax assessments as the Tax Assessors catch up.

The County Attorney said something inaudible in there, because he was facing away from his microphone.

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker asked whether the fire department could get its millage adjusted down. Chairman Bill Slaughter said they were still building. Commissioner Wisenbaker asked when they’re all built, then could we adjust that down? The Chairman that would be something to consider. County Manager Paige Dukes said that staff and other expenses were running higher than expected, but maybe some new items could go into the next SPLOST.

Commissioner Wisenbaker wanted to know what kind of balance the fire department had. Nobody knew, but the Chairman said they could get that that day.

They vote tonight at 5:30 PM.

Before then, you may want to ask your County Commissioner: Continue reading

Millage, Alcohol, and Animals @ LCC 2023-08-21

Update 2023-08-20: Millage Notice: 2023 Property Tax Digest & 5 Year History of Levy 2023-08-14.

The big item is setting the millage rate for 2023, which in conjunction with the assessments and various exemptions, recovery exceptions, etc., determines how much property tax you pay.

[Collage @ LCC Packet 2023-08-21]
Collage @ LCC Packet 2023-08-21

They will probably set it to a rollback rate of 8.896 mills, which is a reduction of 1.315 mills from 2022. That includes Industrial Authority 1.00 mill and VLPRA 1.25 mills.

The Lowndes County Commission will also separately set the Fire District Millage Rate for 2023. They propose 2.50 mills, which is the same as for last year.

Only one of the three beer and wine licenses gets a public hearing. Why only that one is not clear, since the other two are also because of change of ownership.

And there’s a bid for an Animal Services Chassis Box.

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

Rezonings: 2 Hahira, 1 Valdosta, 1 Lowndes County @ GLPC 2023-01-30

Update 2023-01-30: Packet: Lowndes County rezoning @ GLPC 2022-01-30

The two Hahira items are for the same property, and there is one each for Valdosta and Lowndes County, to be considered Monday evening at the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC). The appointed GLPC recommends, with final decisions made at the corresponding City or County elected bodies.

[Cases @ GLPC 2023-01-30]
Cases @ GLPC 2023-01-30

The Bojangles 8-pump gas station and convenience store in Hahira could be contentious. Its applicant wants both a Special Exception and a Variance. Continue reading

Videos: Dollar General Defeated, VLDA appointment, subdivision infrastructure, VOCA, server blades @ LCC Regular 2023-01-24

Update 2023-05-06: Dollar General developer and property owner sue Lowndes County about rezoning denial –VDT 2023-05-03.

Update 2023-01-29: Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26.

Much to the surprise of the several dozen opponents of the Dollar General rezoning, and even after the DG developer attorney attempted to tell his version of the Lowndes County Commission’s legal responsibilities, all the Commissioners voted to deny the rezoning.

[Collage @ LCC 24 January 2023]
Collage @ LCC 24 January 2023

The audience laughed at the Dollar General’s offer of an “enhanced facade,” as conveyed by County Planner JD Dillard. Even after Chairman Bill Slaughter limited each side to ten minutes, the opposition gave excellent summaries.

Heath Dawson, who is the nearest neighbor to the north and a commercial banker, attested Continue reading

Videos: new attorney, VLDA appointment, Dollar General rezoning, 2 infrastructure, special assessment rate, VOCA @ LCC Work 2023-01-23

Update 2023-01-28: Videos: Dollar General Defeated, VLDA appointment, subdivision infrastructure, VOCA, server blades @ LCC Regular 2023-01-24.

The second-longest item at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session this morning was the proposed rezoning for a Dollar General at GA 122 and Skipper Bridge Road, slightly uphill from the Withlacoochee River. They vote tonight at 5:30 PM. You can still call your Commissioner or send email, or speak in the Public Hearing this evening.

The two subdivision infrastructure acceptances on or near Val Del Road remind us all of what happens when the county pushes development onto a road, as they did back in 2007 by running water and sewer to Nelson Hill on Val Del Road.

The longest item at almost three minutes was 7.c. Special Assessment Rate for 2023, which has to be set every year, even though it hasn’t been used in decades.

[Collage @ LCC 23 January 2023]
Collage @ LCC 23 January 2023

About the rezoning, County Planner JD Dillard said another letter opposing the rezoning had been received, from someone about three quarters of a mile north on Skipper Bridge, but he did not say who it was nor what they wrote.

For no apparent reason, he put up a map showing nearest distances to residences. Continue reading