Tag Archives: library

Idelle Dear thanks Commission for library funding improvements @ LCC 2013-07-2223

Idelle Dear handed the Commission a thank-you card on behalf of library users for providing additional funding that reduced furlough days. She tried to speak at the meeting two weeks ago, but the Chairman stopped her then on a technicality.

Ms. Dear reminded the Commission that she did speak to them at the beginning of the year, and she appreciated the card she got from the Chairman after that. She appreciated even more that the number of furlough days had been reduced, since, as she explained again this time, people use the library for everything from job hunting to course assignments.

Idelle Dear begins Idelle Dear Card

Here’s the video:

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SPLOST VII county list @ LCC 2013-07-22

Not quite most of the money for roads, streets, and bridges (none of them named to the public), plus everything from animals to public safety, in the county’s SPLOST VII list. But don’t be alarmed: it contains no new library and no new auditorium, and the Chairman referred to it as a “back to basics” list. It also contains nothing about Internet access; more on that in a separate post. You can be told about this list tomorrow night or at a forthcoming joint county-cities public telling: no town hall meetings have yet been scheduled. These videos and slides are from this morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session.

5. Special Presentation & Consideration — Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VII

There was something new in what Joe Pritchard said:

Commissioners each had an opportunity for independent review and evaluation.

That’s better than the county tradition of the staff write down the list and Commissioners rubber-stamp it. However, where are those town hall meetings Commissioner Joyce Evans promised? She reminded me afterwards that she had said “hopefully”. Mayor Gayle told me afterwards the problem was they were too close to the deadline for turning in the lists for the election. He indicated that was because the county was late. Remember Valdosta already presented its list 9 July 2013. Rumor has it the delay was in some Commissioners insisting on actually having input. That’s a good thing, but if the county planned ahead, there still would have been time for the rest of us to provide input before the lists were finalized.

The slides presented say they’re also available on the county’s website, but I don’t see them there, so I’m posting stills from the LAKE video here.

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Videos: 3 appointments, 1 rezoning, 2 wastewater @ LCC 2013-06-10

Update 23 June 2013: Now with sound!
Update 24 June 2013: Added links to separate posts for the newly audible items.

Unscheduled: Emergency Director Ashley Tye said more about the proposed juvenile justice grant; Kevin Beals announced the winners of the county’s Wellness Weightloss Challenge; and three unscheduled Library Board applicants. You can hear starting with the third of those last, but you can’t hear the few potential appointees for KLVB, VLCCCTA, ZBOA, because the county’s sound system was out (due to a consultant or lightning, depending on who you ask) and Gretchen didn’t notice and go to the camera’s mic until a few minutes in. They did talk about fixing the sewer force main that spilled into the Withlacoochee River. Nothing was said about the exclusive franchise for solid waste services. Maybe you’d like to come tonight and say a few words.

Here’s the agenda, plus links to the videos and a few notes.

WORK SESSION, MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
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Library Board this afternoon @ SGLB 2013-05-21

1PM-3PM today, according to the VDT calendar. Who’s running it now that Kay Harris isn’t chair? And will whoever it is welcome video cameras?

The South Georgia Regional Library Board of Trustees will be meeting Tuesday, March 19 at 1PM in the Folsom Room of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Public Library to conduct regular business.The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. For more information call 333.0086.

Yes, that says March, but the calendar entry says May 21, today. And it says “open to the public and all are welcome to attend”. But are all welcome to record? Or do all have to stay inside an 8×4 foot blue rectangle next to a loud air cleaner? Was that just Kay Harris’ policy and will it change now that she has resigned as chair and from the board?

If there’s anything about this meeting on the library’s website, I can’t find it.


VDT v Valdosta Re Wastewater

The VDT has apparently decided the City of Valdosta is to blame for the Withlacoochee Wastewater Woes, and has made its case in a story and two editorials. They seem to have forgotten about the overflow in 2012 already. And the VDT seems to have forgotten about it and its editor's own apparent roles in the loss of the recent SPLOST election that would have funded a new wastewater plant.

Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT today, Money saved at river's expense: EPD investigates cause of sewage release as waters recede,

When the flooding occurred in April 2009, the City made extraordinary efforts to hold back the flooding, bringing in dirt and heavy machinery to build a berm around the influent pump station and other treatment equipment, working round the clock.

The efforts were successful. The treatment plant remained on during the duration of the flood, and Valdosta's raw sewage remained contained, though the facility incurred damages to its electrical and biological purification systems, according to Utilities Director Henry Hicks.

This year, the City opted for a different approach—cut electricity to the underwater portions of the plant, submit to the flooding and clean up afterwards.

The plant was “taken offline” Thursday at 9 a.m. “to prevent further damage to equipment and associated electrical and control systems,” according to a statement issued by the Department of the City Manager.

The City stated that as a result of the shutdown, “untreated sewage will be discharging directly into the river” at a rate of between five and six million gallons of raw sewage per day.

In addition, the floodwaters were allowed into the plant and around the remaining portions of the berm that was constructed in 2009 during the rising flood. Only half of the berm now remains, as the other half was removed to allow access to the lower portions of the plant, Hicks said.

So far, this year's response strategy seems to have saved the City money. In 2009, about $500,000 was spent in manpower, equipment and supplies to build the berm alone, and the plant, kept running, incurred significant damages though raw sewage was kept out of the river. This year, the money was not spent on the berm or to prevent the flooding, and at least 15 to 20 million gallons of raw sewage will have been released into the Withlacoochee by the time the plant is back online.

There's more in the story, which is well worth a read. Also note this inserted in the middle of the story:

Editor Kay Harris contributed to this story.

The VDT cites the EPA report, National Enforcement Initiative (FY 2011 – 2013) Keeping Raw Sewage and Contaminated Stormwater Out of Our Nation’s Waters, (more about that EPA initiative here) and continues:

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Broadband “huge strategic initiative for our community” —Mary Gooding for VSU @ VLCIA 2013-02-19

Mary Gooding spoke up for VSU at the Industrial Authority 19 February 2013, saying that VSU President McKinney was in Athens (as was President Perrin of Wiregrass), but he and VSU:

We too believe that this is a huge strategic initiative for our community. And we were thrilled after the meeting that we attended that the city, the county, both educational institutions, the Industrial Authority, everyone there, the hospital for sure, all agreed that this had to be a significant incentive.

Mary Gooding added:

At Valdosta State it’s becoming one of our biggest road barriers to online degrees, to online classes. That’s again more bandwidth that’s needed to be able to deliver degrees and classes online.

That’s all good, but where were the superintendents and school boards of the two K-12 school systems? Where were library Continue reading

How are we paying on something that was 100% paid off? —John S. Quarterman @ LCC 2013-01-08

Why are we furloughing librarians to save $30,000 when we apparently floated bonds for unbudgeted millions on the county palace? That’s essentially what I asked the Lowndes County Commission at their 8 January 2013 Regular Session. Nobody had an answer.

Just to add to what Commissioner Lee said, in addition to everyone appreciating all your service, I’m sure we all appreciate all his long years of service.

Of course there are some things that have come up since he was first on the Commission. For example, Internet access.

The Internet is the roads of the future.

Perhaps funding that might be as important as striping roads. It’s a thought.

For more on that, see what Idelle Dear said just before.

And I really appreciate that clock there. It’s a sign that sometimes change is good.

At least they are doing a few things differently.

When this building complex was opened in 2010, the county put out a double-sheet flyer saying it was completely paid off out of SPLOST money, with zero dollars owed. I’m wondering how it is that then, either in November or December, the Commission just before your one here, refinanced bonds that included I think it was six or seven million dollars for this very building complex? I’m very confused by that. I wonder if someone could clarify how we’re paying on something that was completely 100% paid off with zero owed.

It’s actually about $8.9 million. Why are we paying that? Nobody answered. County Manager Joe Pritchard, pictured below, on that 2010 flyer I mentioned, paid no attention.

A prominent local member of the fourth estate said nobody was allowed to answer. Actually, the Commission’s own Policies and Procedures for Citizens Wishing to be Heard include these lines:

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Videos @ LCC 2012-12-11

Moody and the Chamber won, rural residents got wasted, and taxpayers still didn't get to see a single thing the Lowndes County Commission voted on last night in 45 minutes (very long for them) in front of the biggest audience I've ever seen there.

They appointed John "Mac" McCall to ZBOA. They revised the alcohol ordinance with some unspecified "changes to the fee schedule", and added another alcohol restriction to the Lake Park rezoning before approving it. They approved the solid waste ordinance and granted a waste collection monopoly to a company from New York City despite all known public input being against it. Two more people spoke against it in Citizens Wishing to Be Heard. Gretchen Quarterman recommended adding all the appointed Boards and Authorities to the county's calendar. Commissioners accepted applicant's withdrawal of the rezoning request near Moody AFB and tabled indefinitely the related zoning code amendment. They approved rezoning for the Naylor Dollar General. Commission approved four Decorative Lighting Special Tax Districts (forgetting it was supposed to be a public hearing), and a refund for one that wasn't. Danny Weeks got approved a new netclock and new phones for the 911 center, and he and his staff got an award. The library railroad continues, the bonds renegotation was approved with about $2 million savings and some legal questions, the Annex has asbestos but they'll deal with it, and after Friday's demolition ceremony there will be a going-away reception for Chairman Paulk, and Bill Slaughter will be the new Chairman. You missed all that and more at yesterday's Commission meeting.

Here's a video playlist of the Regular Session, followed by the agenda with the videos linked into it.

Update 2014-04-09: Fixed embedded video link.

Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 11 December 2012.

For reference here are the videos of yesterday morning's Work Session. And here is the agenda with links to the videos and some notes.

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Videos @ LCC 2012-12-10

A surprising amount of discussion at yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session, on ZBOA appointment, alcohol Sunday sales, rezoning next to Moody, and more. They said nothing about the solid waste ordinance, however; maybe they’ll table that loser again. They vote tonight:

327 N. Ashley Street — 2nd Floor

Here’s a video playlist of the Work Session, followed by the agenda with the videos linked into it.

Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 10 December 2012.

Here’s the agenda, this time with links to the videos and some notes.

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County proceeding on a fixed library line @ LCC 2012-12-10

Scoring for library architect selection seems more rigorous now, at yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session. But where are the scores? And what are the names of the two finalists? They vote or table tonight at 5:30 PM.

8.h. New Main Library — Construction Manager At Risk Selection

Project Manager Chad McCleod said proposals had been received from nine firms, and “using a score sheet with certain grading criteria” staff narrowed them down to three offers. Each firm gave a one-hour presentation last Friday to the selection committee which again “used certain grading criteria to score each firm”. The top two scorers were Coffee[?] Construction and Quillian Powell Construction.

I applaud actually using scoring, instead of what appeared to happen for the main library architect selection, with a relatively elaborate selection process including a scoring sheet that then apparently wasn’t actually used in the architect selection. But where are these filled-out score sheets for the applicants this time, so we the taxpayers can see them?

The Commission could have staff Continue reading