Tag Archives: Gretchen Quarterman

Notice: Budget Work Session @ LCC 2020-05-27

This is all we know:

[Notice]
Notice

Date: May 27, 2020

Time: 9:30 AM

Location: Board of Commissioners Administration Building

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

Well, we know they never video these budget meetings.

-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!

Packet: Stream monitoring, trash franchises, wetlands credits, force main, quit claims, paving, and Accountability Court @ LCC 2020-04-28

Apparently there was no legal public notice and no recording of the April teleconference meeting with the dial-in code changed less than three hours before, with $6,913,575.06 in taxpayers’ money being decided.

[Photo: Pine Grove Road Collection Center]
Photo: Pine Grove Road Collection Center

For that Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, at which everything was approved unanimously except the one split vote on the single-source no-bid stream monitoring contract, LAKE sent an open records request for “the teleconference audio recording and the log of teleconference attendees (who dialed in, by name, or, if name is not known, by telephone number) for the April 28, 2020, Lowndes County Commission Regular Session.”

The response from the County Clerk was:

The April 28th telephone meeting was not recorded other than the minutes that were taken. Further, the program used does not record a phone log for the option utilized for this meeting. This being case, there are no records responsive to your request. I do expect the next meeting to be held in the Commission Chambers with social distancing requirements observed. This being the case, citizens will have an opportunity to attend in person which is a much better format for everyone.

Well, that’s a matter of opinion. Do you think it’s better to have to wear a mask to the Commission Chambers and risk getting infected, than to listen on the phone?

The Valdosta City Council had their meeting this Thursday on facebook live. The Madison, Florida, BOCC has been doing theirs on gotomeeting. It’s curious how the most populous county in the region can’t manage a teleconference or video meeting.

LAKE received the full board packet two days after the meeting, at 5:07 PM on Thursday, April 30, 2020, in response to an open records request. It’s on the LAKE website. We look forward to Lowndes County putting its full packet on its website along with the agenda and one-page agenda sheets per item. Many other counties in Georgia and Florida have been doing this for years.

When will the Lowndes County Commission catch up with the 21st century?

April-28-2020-Commission-Meeting-Packet

By far the biggest item was the $6,545,729.00 Coleman Road Force Main Replacement. The county apparently saved a bunch of money by removing many amounts from the bid for the county to do directly.

[Amount Removed from Bid]
Amount Removed from Bid

Curious how they didn’t do that for the sole-source no-bid $45,120.00 Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring and Reporting of Impaired Streams. More on that in another blog post.

The county bid everything else that could be bid, including the $228,400.95 Continue reading

Teleconference: Stream monitoring, trash franchises, wetlands credits, force main, quit claims, paving, and Accountability Court @ LCC 2020-04-28

Update 2020-05-10:

Update 2020-05-09: Board packet.

Update 2020-05-02: Gretchen’s notes on each agenda item.

Was this even a public meeting? The Lowndes County Commission approved everything on its agenda yesterday, even though only really perceptive citizens could figure out how to listen to the teleconference. In which they approved everything, with only one split vote, for a $45,120.00 single-source item.

[Agenda Versions]
Agenda Versions

At 2:38 PM, less than three hours before the 5:30 PM voting Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, they made this one change to the online agenda:

Old:
“The call in number is 813-769-0500 and the access code is 373-829-614#”

New:
“The call in number is 813-769-0500 and the access code is 584-852-611#”

Can you spot the change? It’s the access code.

I didn’t notice the agenda had changed, so I used the old access code. Which only started a teleconference five minutes late, and then had 18+ minutes of silence.

Gretchen did notice the agenda had changed, but there was no indication of what had changed. She carefully looked to find that different access code. It’s a good bet Gretchen was the only citizen on the conference call, because likely few other people figured that out.

But that didn’t stop the Commissioners from approving everything on the agenda.

The only split vote was for: Continue reading

Videos: Val Del rezoning, Appointments 3 Boards, Road abandonment, additions, and paving, fire dept. bids @ LCC 2020-03-09

Eighteen minutes for the whole meeting, mostly consisting of reading out the agenda sheet text for each item. The longest item was 7b. Accept Gaines Lane Quit-Claim Deeds, apparently because of a need for a title search and to prepare a plat, and who would pay for it, the county or other.

Here are the costs found in the agenda sheets for each item, most expensive first:

CostWhat
$399,414.00 Bid for a 3,000 Gallon Tanker for the Fire Department
$28,327.04 Request to Purchase New Firefighter Turnout Gear
$19,167 Solicitor-General’s Office 2020 VAWA Grant Award Activation
$4,836.00 Approval of Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. ROW Purchases
$451,744.04Total

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a very few comments, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also: Continue reading

Videos: Hamm Estates roads, Deannexation, Rezonings, Right of Way, Software, Health Insurance, Repairs, KLVB @ LCC 2020-02-25

The longest regular item at 4 minutes on this voting Regular Session agenda was 6.b. Accept Hamm Estates Dr. into the County Road Inventory. Longer were two Citizens who spoke at the end about Keep Lowndes-Valdosta Beautiful (KLVB).

Hamm Estates

Here again are the costs found in the agenda sheets for the items, from most expensive down, with links back into the agenda.

CostWhat
$290,000.00 2020 Administrative Services Agreement with Allied Benefit Systems, Inc.
$50,433.00 Bid for Repairs to Knights Academy Road; emergency repairs for Culvert Aprons
$43,245.50 Approval of Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. ROW Purchases
$24,613.44 Microsoft Server 2019 Data Center License
$11,535.00 Approval of Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. ROW Acquisition
$419,826.94Total

The actual cost for the Clyattstone Road-Simpson Lane project is larger; more like $77,696.50 so far, before grading, base, and paving; see the LAKE notes on the preceding morning’s Work Session.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes. See also Continue reading

Videos: Appointment Development Authority, Mutual Aid, Quit Claim White Water Road @ LCC 2020-01-28

The Lowndes County Commission approved all items in four and a quarter minutes, at its Regular Session a month ago, including reappointing Teri Lupo to the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority. There were no other nominees.

The longest item at less than a minute was 6.a. 2020 Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement. Commissioners had no questions about that or any other item.

Lowndes County Emergency Management Director Ashley Tye

Below are LAKE videos for each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also Continue reading

Videos: Appointment Development Authority, Mutual Aid, Quit Claim White Water Road @ LCC 2020-01-27

One month ago, the entire Lowndes County Commission Regular Work Session took eight and a half minutes. Plus an Executive Session for Real Estate.

Lowndes County Attorney Walter G. Elliott

Below are LAKE videos for each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda. The board packet is on the LAKE website.

Videos: Verizon Country Club tower, halfway house, and Providence Missionary Baptist Church @ GLPC 2020-01-27

Surprisingly the longest item on this (possibly) longest-ever Planning Commission agenda was 5. CU-2020-01 Verizon Wireless, conditional use cell tower at Country Club, clocking in at almost an hour, accounting for almost a third of the more than three-hour meeting, and getting a denial recommendation on a split vote of 6:3:1.

VZ Country Club tower

Second longest at more than forty-two minutes was 6. CU-2020-02 Natalie Bailey, 4019 Forrest Run Circle – Halfway House, resulting in a very unusual unanimous recommendation for denial. The actual decision will be made at the Valdosta City Council meeting tonight.

Usually church requests sail through, but 13. HA-2020-01 Providence Missionary Baptist Church, 707 West Park Street, took more than sixteen minutes, largely to everyhone acting as a committee designing an access ramp which turned out to already be there.

Pete’s Otto had it pretty easy at nine minutes Pete’s Otto was previously at GLPC in January 2017 about establishing its business, and at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBOA) in in July 2019 about setbacks.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the GLPC agenda. And the Valdosta City Council agenda for the meeting where they will decide the half-way house and other Valdosta items.

Videos: Lake Park Annexation, Jail software, Public Defender, Beer, Road Abandonment, Arglass Road @ LCC 2020-02-10

For unknown reasons, the Lowndes County Commission votes tonight at 5:30 PM.

By far the longest at this morning’s Work Session was 5.d. Lake Park Annexation and Rezoning of Register Property, running 14 and a half minutes.

Lake Park Annexation

Second at almost three minutes was the $99,700 jail software change order.

The 2020 Public Defender Contracts got a minute and a half, even though they are unchanged from last year.

The $789,567.21 Arglass Road Paving item didn’t even get a minute.

County Chairman Bill Slaughter took about a minute thanking the Commissioners for the recent Retreat; LAKE video to come of that.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item for this morning’s Work Session. See also the Continue reading

Half-way house for ex-offenders, Country Club tower, six Appointments @ VCC 2020-02-10

Postponed from last Thursday due to weather, the Valdosta City Council meets tonight, to consider some rather contentious cases from the Planning Commission, and to make a bunch of appointments, plus some bids for equipment.

CU-2020-02 Natalie Bailey, 4019 Forrest Run Circle - Halfway House @ GLPC 2020-01-27
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, CU-2020-02 Natalie Bailey, 4019 Forrest Run Circle – Halfway House @ GLPC 2020-01-27.

This Valdosta City Council bid item is interesting:

4.d) Consideration of bids for a Trailer-Mounted Mobile Televising Unit for the Utilities Department (Bid No. 27-19-20 A).

Maybe with that Valdosta Utilities can see what’s happening with equipment they leave in a park overnight, for example maybe in McKey Park after today’s 200-gallon sewage spill.

Here is the agenda. It says February 6, but the Valdosta calendar entry for today says “RESCHEDULED – Valdosta City Council Meeting, Monday, February 10, 2020 – 5:30pm” See also Continue reading