Tag Archives: Internet access speed

Update: rezonings w. Tiger Creek, whose communications tower? @ LCC 2020-09-08

Here are the answers to these questions from Saturday:

  1. Why is the owner of the planned 300-foot communications tower off US 84 a secret?
  2. Why does the agenda sheet for REZ-2020-11 Bella Mill Plantation, 8450 Ousley Rd., next to Tiger Creek and a short distance upstream from the Withlacoochee River, make no mention of sewage or the size of the septic system relative to the number of expected attendees at the planned event facility?

[Proposed interior sketch]
Proposed interior sketch

  1. TWR 2020-02 is by Diamond Communications and AT&T.
  2. REZ-2020-11: the Department of Public Health determines septic system sizes. That Department won’t issue a septic system permit until they are satisfied.

These answers came from JD Dillard, Lowndes County Planning and Zoning Director. I called him yesterday before the Regular Session Tuesday, and he called back with the answers.

How does the Department of Health determine septic system sizes? Partly by Continue reading

Reappointment to GLPC, three rezonings w. Tiger Creek, whose communications tower? @ LCC 2020-09-07

Update 2020-09-09: Update: rezonings w. Tiger Creek, whose communications tower? @ LCC 2020-09-08

Why is the owner of the planned 300-foot communications tower off US 84 a secret? The Lowndes County Commission will deliberate on that rezoning and three more Monday morning at 8:30 AM and vote on it Tuesday at 5:30 PM, after these rezonings were heard Monday at the Planning Commission.

Why does the agenda sheet for REZ-2020-11 Bella Mill Plantation, 8450 Ousley Rd., next to Tiger Creek and a short distance upstream from the Withlacoochee River, make no mention of sewage or the size of the septic system relative to the number of expected attendees at the planned event facility? Why is there no mention of any speakers against this rezoning, even though there was at least one at the Planning Commission?

[Conceptual Plan]
Conceptual Plan
PDF

In addition to two other rezonings, the County Commission will most likely reappoint Tommy Willis to the Planning Commission.

Here is the agenda. The entire board packet for Monday and Tuesday is on the LAKE website, along with the minutes for the previous meetings two weeks ago, in response to a LAKE open records request. Thanks to new County Clerk Belinda Lovern and Sabrina Denson for speedy responses to such requests.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2020, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2020, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

  1. Call to Order Continue reading

Packet: Budget, MIDS, Rezoning, Clyattstone Road, Mosquito, Law, Fiber Optic, Alcohol @ LCC 2020-07-13

$3,200,415.50 was on the agenda for this week, presumably approved by now by the Lowndes County Commission, in which they also appointed Paige Dukes to succeed Joe Pritchard as Lowndes County Manager.

[Table of Costs (by LAKE)]
Table of Costs (by LAKE)

Cost What
$2,500,000.00 GEFA Loan Application
$289,498.00 Acceptance of FY 2021 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant
$198,775.00 Fiber Optic to Lowndes EOC
$102,762.00 Judicial System Software Purchase
$45,790.00 Annual Contract Renewal for Mosquito Identification and Testing
$40,000.00 Office of the Governor Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Accountability Court Lowndes County DUI Court- State Court
$23,590.50 Approval of Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. ROW and Easement Purchases (Parcels 26 and 34)
$0.00 Amendment to TPO Agreement FY2021 – Transit
$3,200,415.50Total

That’s 2.6% of the $120 million county annual budget.

Curious that they’re willing to spend $198,775.00 for fast, reliabile, Internet connectivity to their own offices but nothing for the rest of the population of Lowndes County.

I’ve lost track of how much they’ve spent on Clyattstone Road to connect Old US 41 N and Val Del Road to promote development in that area.

I commend the county for the GEFA Loan Application for wastewater utilities projects:

HISTORY, FACTS AND ISSUES: The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority offers funding through the State Revolving Fund. Local governments are able to secure low interest loans to be used for utility projects. Lowndes County has identified several lift station and manhole rehabilitation improvement projects.

The loan can be structured to spread repayment over a period of up to 30 years; however, there is no penalty for paying the loan off early. The proposed interest rate will not exceed 1.94% While the total loan amount is $2,500,000.00 it includes a grant component which allows for forgiveness of up to $625,000.00 of the loan amount. Staff recommends approval of the GEFA Loan Application.

The entire board packet is on the LAKE website. Documents received 12:26 PM, Friday, July 10, 2020, in response to a LAKE open records request. LAKE looks forward to these documents being posted on the county’s own website along with the agenda. Continue reading

Pritchard hands over to Dukes as Lowndes County Manager @ LCC 2020-07-14

On August 1, 2020, Paige Dukes will be the new County Manager, after the 20-year reign of Joe Pritchard.

Paige Dukes, County Clerk, 2011-10-13
Paige Dukes, County Clerk, Lunch and Learn, 2011-10-13

Chris Herbert, Valdosta Daily Times, 14 July 2020, Dukes named Lowndes County Manager,

The vote was a split decision, 3-2, with commissioners Joyce Evans, Clay Griner and Scottie Orenstein voting in favor. Demarcus Marshall and Mark Wisenbaker opposed.

Marshall said his no vote was because he wanted to see the position advertised to open the pool up to other candidates.

“I would expect no less than to have this position advertised,” Marshall said. “To advertise it is saying, ‘we’re not just the good ole boys system or good ole girls system.'”

Wisenbaker said he wanted to see a “fresh” perspective from county leadership and hoped a broader search could provide some new outlooks for the county’s future.

“I voted no because I think the citizens of Lowndes County need to be better represented. We need to advertise this job…There’s nothing personal against Ms. Dukes. She’s been here a while. She does a good job. It’s just being able to look out there and see what we may be missing,” he said. “We got a $120 million budget. That’s not small and we need the right people and the right person to carry this on. And we need fresh ideas. We need a fresh person, in my opinion, that can bring new things to the table.”

Those two were in the minority, however, and the three in support said they are certain Dukes is the right decision.

“I’ve been on this board for six years, and 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

Videos: 2 appointments, Tower, GDOT Utilities, various agreements @ LCC Regular 2019-05-28

Animal welfare was the topic of the one Citizen wished to be Heard: Ed Barr, a former VSU faculty member, who said he spoke for a group of people who want a better-designed animal shelter, with better accessibility, as in closer to a residential area, or maybe redesigned like Miss Kitty Feline Sanctuary in Thomasville; he never said quite what features that meant.

The Regular Session was double-booked at the same time as the Planning Commission, so Gretchen went to the Planning Commission. The county’s own video was not available yesterday, but it appeared after I inquired.

They appointed Continue reading

Videos: Tower, GDOT Utilities, 2 appointments, various agreements @ LCC Work 2019-05-28

The Work Session was at 4PM on Tuesday. The longest item was 7d. Corrections Software Solutions Probation Tracking System.

On the 6 a. TWR-2019-01 US Hwy 84 E. E-A, New 300′ Telecommunications Tower, tabled last time, staff did hear from Moody AFB that the tower was no problem for helicopter pilots, and the FAA has said no hazard. But they didn’t say whether Moody had issued its TERPS report.

Berinda Nwakamma did introduce herself very briefly as an applicant for the 5a. Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). County Manager Joe Pritchard said “her information is in your agenda,” but it was not among the board packet documents the county sent LAKE in response to an open records request. What we dug up about her is below.

The Chairman had to speak for the one applicant for the 5b. Appointment – Southern Georgia Area Agency on Aging, since Commissioner Joyce Evans declined to say anything.

They had an Executive Session to discuss pending litigation.

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

Packet: Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2019-05-28

Received in response to an open records request by LAKE. The county supplied it onto the same USB drive with the documents from the previous County Commission packet. The county charged LAKE $6.65 for that USB stick.

[Page 1]
GDOT to Lowndes County, Actual Cost Preliminary Engineering Agreement, Cover Letter

These documents are on the LAKE website.

LAKE looks forward to the county putting all these packet documents on the county’s own website, along with the agenda and agenda sheets.

Missing from what the county sent: Continue reading

Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative 2019-04-26

Good about the Georgia Broadband Deployment Inititative (GBDI): wired and wireless, and they are actively doing something, including mapping.

[Map Phase 1]
Map Phase 1
See also interactive Phase 1 map.

Dubious: stakeholders are only “private telecom and cable providers, local government, and electricity cooperatives”.

Where are universities, technical colleges, doctors and hospitals, local businesses, nonprofits, and the people? Supposedly “Community partnership will be a central component”, but where is the community in GBDI’s plans? Where are the other stakeholders? Where are the public hearings?

Maybe that’s farther along in their timeline: Continue reading

Tower, GDOT Utilities, 2 appointments, various agreements @ LCC 2019-05-28

Both the Work Session and the Regular Session are Tuesday, due to Monday being a holiday. That puts the Regular Session at the same time as the Planning Commission.

The proposed 300′ tower is back on the agenda. Its agenda sheet says they’re still waiting for Moody AFB to do a Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS) analysis, and for a response from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). So the County Commission could make a decision and adjourn before the Planning Commission even gets that far on its agenda.

Utilities has a Standard Utility Agreement/Preliminary Engineering Agreement with GDOT that “that covers the engineering cost of Water and Sewer Distribution facilities relocations incurred by Lowndes County for improvements of the interchange on CR 274/Lake Park-Bellville Road. The amount of the contract is $49,270.00, of which the DOT will bear 100 percent of the cost.”

Two appointments: somebody unnamed resigned from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) and Berinda Nwakamma wants to be appointed. Naturally, the agenda says nothing about who she is, but linkedin says “Program Director at Georgia Home Visiting Program”, ResearchGate says “Valdosta State University | VSU ยท department of social work”, and Great Start thanks providers, by Daniel DeMersseman, VDT, 10 June 2017, says “GSGL [Great Start Georgia Lowndes] supervisor.” I’m guessing she’s the one in the front left of the picture, not holding a certificate, because she’s the one organized giving them out.


Daniel DeMersseman | The Valdosta Daily Times Great Start Georgia Lowndes thanks social services providers at its Thank-a-Provider event.

Commissioner Joyce Evans’ term Continue reading