Tag Archives: John S. Quarterman

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

Education, Extension, Prisoners, Fire, Water, Sewer, Nelson Hill, Wages, Taxes, Clerk @ LCC 2020-08-24

A busy agenda for 8:30 AM Monday morning, with voting 5:30 PM Tuesday, includes especially taxes, and alcohol, sewer, twice, education, extension agents, Prison Work Details, and Architectural Services for Lowndes County Fire Station #5 – Bemiss Road Fire Station Alterations and Additions.

[Aerial Map]
Aerial Map for Uncle Carlo’s Italian Ristorante, 1024 Lakes Blvd., Lake Park, GA.

Plus appointment of a new County Clerk, Belinda Lovern, and Deputy Clerk, Sabrina Denson. No posting of the positions is mentioned.

Cost What
$147,954.00Annual Contract Renewal, Georgia Department of Corrections – Prison Work Details
$141,841.00Contract for Extension Agents and Staff
$110,000.00Peterson Road Lift Station Emergency Repair
$44,400.00Architectural Services for Lowndes County Fire Station #5 – Bemiss Road Fire Station Alterations and Additions
$41,840.00Nelson Hill Discharge Manhole
$5,699.35Tax Commissioners’ Back Wage Settlement with Department of Labor
$-32,000.00USDA Building Lease Amendment No. 4
$459,734.35Total

The Lowndes County Commission is Repealing Approvals Authorizing the Tax Commissioner to Waive Penalties and Interest, apparently because of a Tax Commissioners' Back Wage Settlement with Department of Labor.

After last year’s vote of the people to ask the Georgia legislature to make the Tax Assessors appointed, not elected, the legislature did that. Now the County Commission is setting the number of Assessors at three, with initial staggered terms of 3, 4, and 5 years, and after that 3 years for each.

This is after two weeks ago the Lowndes County Commission rolled back the tax millage rate slightly.

Here is the agenda. The entire board packet, together with the Minutes of the meetings of two weeks ago (Work Session, Millage Hearing, and Regular Session) is on LAKE website.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2020, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2020, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Videos: Maybe revisit lowering millage rate @ LCC 2020-08-10

There was pushback on lowering the millage rate at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session yesterday morning. They will decide this evening at 5:30 PM at the Regular Session.

The Commissioners, like some of the public, also wanted to know when there will be a new County Clerk. Answer, from the former County Clerk, Paige Dukes, who is now the County Manager: not yet; maybe next meeting (two weeks from now).

The $0.9 million low bid from Reames for road paving and a box culvert got no discussion from Commissioners.

The Scruggs Company was offered a special exception to the Comprehensive Plan; one that actually makes sense.

Yes, the Copeland property backs up to PCA.

The Verizon tower got no questions from Commissioners.

Below are links to each LAKE video with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and board packet, and the millage rate hearing at 5PM today (Tuesday).

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

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

The board packet for the March 9 and 10 Work and Regular Sessions of the Lowndes County Commission is on the LAKE website, received 3:00 PM Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in response to a LAKE open records request. I did not have time to process it before the Regular Session 2.5 hours later.

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 d
$28,327.04 Request to Purchase New Firefighter Turnout Gear d
$19,167 Solicitor-General’s Office 2020 VAWA Grant Award Activation d
$4,836.00 Approval of Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. ROW Purchases d
$0 Abandonment of Unopened Right of Way – Hart Road d
$451,744.04Total

[Zoning Location Map]
Zoning Location Map
PDF

Of course, all those dollar figures are immediate costs. They do not include future costs such as road paving related to new subdivisions.

See also the LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission meeting. That GLPC meeting’s item 3. REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Road RA to PD, re-appears on this Lowndes County Commission agenda as 6.b. REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Rd. R-A to P-D, County Water and Sewer, ~72.54 acres Districts 2 and 5.

And see also Continue reading

Videos: Oak St. Pregnancy Clinic, Val Del Wetherington, Baytree Nijem @ GLPC 2020-02-24

The longest time, almost 16 minutes, was for Pregnancy Support Clinic of Valdosta at 2203 N. Oak St., followed at 14 minutes by REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Road RA to PD, with 12 minutes for the Jon Nijem rezoning and Planned Development at 406 & 410 Baytree Road, in a relatively short February meeting of the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission.

VA-2020-05 Pregnancy Support Clinic

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes. 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: Deannexation, Rezonings, Right of Way, Software, Health Insurance, Road Repairs @ LCC 2020-02-24

The longest item of those I videoed (yes, I was late to this Work Session) was 6.f. Deannexation of Ganas Property by Lake Park, which apparently doesn’t cost the county anything. Directly, at least. Maybe even net positive, due to property taxes.

Deannexation

Here 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 one item is larger; see below for Clyattstone Road and Simpson Lane ROW Purchases.

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

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

Bids or negotiations for everything except the Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring, and Reporting of Impaired Streams, which is on the agenda for Tuesday as a single proposal from an engineering firm. The agenda sheets are on the LAKE website. We do not yet have the full agenda packet.

This April 28, 2020, Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission will be held by teleconference. There will be Citizens Wishing to Be Heard, but as usual that will be after the Commissioners vote. This is the only County Commission of the many counties I’ve been to in two states that does not let citizens speak either at the beginning of the session or on each agenda item as it comes up.

Citizens wishing to be heard should email County Clerk, Paige Dukes at pdukes@lowndescounty.com or call 229-292-6142 during normal business hours to register to speak. Please register prior to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28th. Thank you.

Notice no Work Session is listed on the agenda, and a Commissioner tells me there will be no Work Session, which is marked in the county calendar as Cancelled.

[Map: Coleman Road, VALORGIS]
Map: Coleman Road, VALORGIS

These are the costs of the agenda items, sorted most expensive first:

Continue reading
CostWhat
$6,545,729.00 5.h. Coleman Road Force Main Replacement
$228,400.95 6.a. LMIG Resurfacing Contract
$48,079.00 5.f. Approval of Clyattstone Road-Simpson Lane ROW Purchases
$45,120.00 5.c. Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring and Reporting of Impaired Streams
$26,246.11 5.i. Lowndes County Accountability Court Grant Approval and Cash Match
$20,000.00 5.e. Purchase of Wetland Credits for Clyattstone Road – Simpson Lane Paving Project