Most attending ever seen at the Lowndes County, Georgia, Board of Elections! Potential closure of the Clyattville voting precinct was the issue. That won’t happen because of the strength of the Clyattville community in organizing and working with the union hall.
The added agenda item 6e. Emergency Repairs to Rocky Ford Road got a couple of bids (unusual procedure; different from their usual no-bid emergencies) passed. The Chamber sent Gary Wisenbaker to speak in Citizens Wishing to Be Heard to ask for (after a very long preamble by John Page) apparently money from GDOT for a long list (in a letter the taxpayers did not get to see) of transportation projects to help “the business community”, apparently including the truck bypass.
They only appointed six of the seven members of the Development Authority of Lowndes County, although a Commissioner did ask about that. It’s also curious they said all the terms expired right then, since the Wayback machine has a snapshot of 4 April 2017, which shows three expiring in June 2017 and four already expired in December 2016. Apparently they just didn’t bother to appoint anybody to the four slots that expired in December 2016 until eight months later, and then they didn’t appoint anybody to one of the 2017 slots.
Below are links to Continue reading
Bids for an emergency repair! This could be a first, instead of their usual sole source approve-it-right now method. See the County Manager’s Report, in which County Engineer Mike Fletcher describes bids incoming from both Scruggs and Reames for temporary repair to Rocky Ford Road.
Below are links to each LAKE video of yesterday morning’s Work Session with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda with notes about appointments and millage. And see also the 5 PM today Millage Rate Meeting.Continue reading
Maybe the county would have enough applicants their Work Session, Monday morning at 8:30 AM, if they advertised for applicants for open board seats, such as on the Development Authority of Lowndes County, And if they posted the application sheets for the applicants they did get, such as for the Lowndes County Library Board, we’d have some idea of who they are. They could even say whether the millage is going up or down.
There is a vacant seat on the Lowndes County Library Board. The Board of Trustees of the South Georgia Regional Library System respectfully requests the appointment of Mr. Gene Toffolo to fill the vacant seat.
They don’t say who applicant Gene Toffolo is. According to the South Georgia Regional Library he’s a 2016 Friends of the Library Board member:
Front Left to Right: Kay Scott, Janet Toffolo, Mary Helen Watson (President), Merrilee Casady, Sarah Smart (Vice President), Robert DeVan (Treasurer)
Back Left to Right: Gene Toffolo, Patricia Marks, Riley Howard, Karl Osmus, John Swiderski (Secretary)
The county’s agenda and agenda sheet for the Lowndes County Library Board don’t say whose seat expired or maybe somebody resigned. The county’s web page for this board is no more helpful, listing these members and expirations, none of which expires in 2017: Continue reading
The secretive Project Max container company better not be like when the Industrial Authority bragged about a prospect that would bring in 300 clean jobs and it turned out to be a private prison, which fortunately (after much public opposition) never happened. At last Tuesday’s Lowndes County Commissioner Regular Session, nearby landowner Mike Paine said he is afraid of many things, because it’s a rush job and nobody has told him anything concrete. The Industrial Authority, now called the Development Authority, says we should trust them. It would help if they wouldn’t say things like no emissions but steam, when burning natural gas produces CO2, and if they would admit that methane often leaks, and then it’s a far worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Video. About the public hearing for rezoning from Estate Agricultural (E-A) to heavy-duty manufacturing (M-2) for the hush-hush Project Max, the big-fish container manufacturing plant proposed for Rocky Ford Road, next to the protected watershed of Mud Swamp and near Valdosta Airport, see Continue reading
Citizen Billy Rowland complained about poor road grading, his dogs being shot, and misuse of Knights Ferry Landing on the Withlacoochee River. Maybe the Commission will listen to what he said this time, at last Tuesday’s Lowndes County Commissioner Regular Session. Apparently G. Norman Bennett wants Hall Web Road paved for the mile to his house at the Little River, but Julia Bass, Ralph Niehenke, and Diane Guess spoke up saying they don’t want it paved. Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker tried to ask them questions, but Chairman Bill Slaughter cut him off. Slaugher did have time earlier fo an extra announcement of a joint governmental meeting Tuesday morning. It’s not clear citizens will even get to speak there, much less get questions answered. See separate post.
They passed the resolution to ask the legislature to start the proecess to appoint rather than elect Lowndes County Tax Assessors.
They already did emergency repairs to Clyattville Nankin Road Bridge (problem discovered by a local citizen) and Jumping Gully Road Bridge (found by GDOT), and the Commissione approved payment after the fact. So two more no-bid contracts were let, this time without even a Commission vote before the work was done.
They agreed to the North Lowndes Park Quitclaim and Custodial Agreement by which Valdosta-Lowndes Parks & Rec. Authority (VLPRA) takes charge of some land west of I-75 north of Hahira for a soccer field.
A few citizens spoke about rezoning for the mysterious Project Max, but of course they passed the rezoning anyway, even though apparently none of the Commissioners know who the prospective tenant is.
The Lowndes County Commission agenda contained quite a few other items as the Commission caught up after the holidays. See also the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session. Below are links to each LAKE video of the Tuesday evening 12 January 2016 Regular Session, followed by a video playlist. Continue reading
Co-Chair Jerome Tucker emphasized that ESPLOST helping public schools also helps economic development. See below for who we now know are the committee members for the Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST). It’s mysterious why that information wasn’t in the PR before the meeting, but now we know, since Gretchen went and took the videos and collected the flyers you’ll find below.
Early voting already started that same day and continues through March 13th, with the final Election Day 17 March 2015.
Lowndes/Valdosta Citizens for Excellence in Education
Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax
For Lowndes County Schools and Valdosta City Schools Continue reading
Unlike Moody AFB’s last go at privatizing housing, no mold or unpaid contractors this time, or so we’re told. But not so solid assurances that local contractors will be used. And what if this new thing turns into something radically different like Nelson Hill did only a short way up Val Del?
Speaking for that proposed privatized Moody housing on Val Del Road, Lawyer Tom Kurrie said this was “an opportunity for our community”. He spelled out that the proposal was “90 homes for off-base houses, for enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers, and officers”, with gates. He went on about Balfour Beatty‘s experience in building such housing, and their option to build Phase II, although at the moment they’re only requesting Phase I. He said “the unfortunate issue that took place with the prior development” would not occur with this one.
I can guess he’s referring to the mold issue, Beth Mahoney detailed in Little Rock Military Families Examiner 6 April 2009.
Or since he lauded Balfour Beatty’s credit rating, maybe he was referring to the nonpayment of subcontractors, as Kari L. Sands wrote for VDT, 4 March 2007, Military housing woes: Non-payment forces work on military housing project to stop.
Preferred Builders and Renovators, LLC., the Home Builders Association of South Georgia and CMS/ Dumpster Co. are among those affected. Subcontractors are alleging that Continue reading
At the 29 July 2013 Greater Lowndes Planning Commission meeting, County Planner Jason Davenport said that in addition to the initial materials for GLPC, he’d provided an update about Magnolia Grove, which was Phase I of Moody Family Housing. The real reason for the rezoning wasn’t stated in the initial materials given to GLPC. In the materials obtained through open records request, we can see that the GLPC agenda item contained the boilerplate “The general motivation in this case appears to be so that the subject property can be developed at a greater residential density.” In the update it’s assumed that the real reason is housing for Moody personnel, since Magnolia Grove is the existing Moody housing off of Roberts Road. Which isn’t even built out yet, as you can see in this map from the county Tax Commissioners, so why does Moody need more housing?
My LTE in the VDT Thursday. I’ve added links to some of my inspirations. -jsq
Local leaders worked hard to get the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area declared. Why now are they acting like a Ludowici speed trap for local businesses?
The Lowndes County Commission shouldn’t act like a private business trying to exclude anybody it doesn’t like. State law says local governments are supposed to have open bids and public hearings. A promise (in the VDT) in March 2013 of a non-exclusive contract for trash collection turned into exclusive in October; at least two of the five bidders are now the same company; and the county is suing a local business to the profit of a company owned by investors in New York City. Meanwhile, no public accounting has ever been seen of the former waste collection sites and no public hearing was held before they closed, despite state law.
Business exists to make a profit. Government exists to provide public services like law enforcement, water, sewers, roads, and yes, trash collection. Sure, balanced books are good. But money isn’t the main point of government: providing what the people need is, and the people didn’t ask the county to exchange the waste collection centers for lower prices that won’t last.