Tag Archives: Military

Videos: Stealth Commission district reapportionment and half million dollar developer giveaway @ LCC 2022-01-25

As expected, the Lowndes County Commission at its Regular Session passed the half million dollar bailout for a developer.

Not expected, they changed the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to approve new Commission district maps and a resolution supporting them, for immediate transmission to the state.

One citizen wishing to be heard spoke about the never ending noise from the 15 month old Arglass factory.

[Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts]
Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts

Developer Bailout

For 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC County Manager Paige Dukes said staff acted at the direction of the Commissioners, seeming to distance herself and staff from this action.

Reapportionment

I’m guessing the added agenda item was 5.l..

Vice Chair Joyce Evans, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Chair Bill Slaughter, introduced the agenda change for district reapportionment indicating the Commissioners all already knew this was going to happen. Continue reading

Discussion of court grants and Loch Laurel Road project, little of property subsidy @ LCC 2022-01-24

At yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session, there was no discussion by the Commissioners about 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC, but new wrinkles did come to some small light.

County Manager Paige Dukes said “This is a follow up on the Building Valdosta purchase of property we have discussed with you several times…” In what public meeting did those discussion take place? She also said the county attorney had worked out an agreement with Building Valdosta, yet that agreement was not in the board packet. And she remarked, “Any other claims related to this will continue through, um, any process with ACCG that they may have for lost profits.” She immediately called for an Executive Session for “Client-privileged communication regarding potential or pending litigation and for the purchase of property.”

Sounds like the county got sued by a developer, or was threatened with a lawsuit, and is resolving that by bailing out the developer with half a million of our tax dollars.

How can any developer who did the slightest due diligence not know that the subject property on GA 122 east of Bemiss Road is in the Moody Activity Zone (MAZ)? If that’s not their beef, what is?

[Joyce Evans presiding]
Joyce Evans presiding, VOCA/CESF grant, Loch Laurel Road project, Property Purchase — Building Valdosta, LLC

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

Why should Lowndes County spend half a million dollars to subsidize a developer? 2022-01-24

Update 2022-01-25: Discussion of court grants and Loch Laurel Road project, little of property subsidy @ LCC 2022-01-24.

The $568,971.00 for 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC is a markup of $323,971 over the price that property sold for last year, supposedly to protect Moody AFB, even though how is not said and it’s 2.4 miles away. The developer is the same as for the 5999 Val Del Road rezoning last October. And there appear to be more previous subsidies from the County Commission to the same developer.

This current giveaway on GA 122 is on the agenda for this morning’s Work Session and Tuesday evening’s voting Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

Who does it profit? And how does it protect Moody AFB?

[Building Valdosta parcel, Comprehensive Plan with MAZ]
Building Valdosta parcel, Comprehensive Plan with MAZ

After I pointed out to the Lowndes County PIO and Clerk that the county was apparently in violation of the Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) by not returning the board packet within three days, they sent it at 7PM on Saturday. The packet is on the LAKE website. However, the packet includes no information about this item beyond the agenda sheet, which says:

HISTORY, FACTS AND ISSUES: At the direction of the Commission, staff has worked with the County Attorney to prepare a purchase agreement that will provide for Lowndes County to purchase 41.543 acres of property on Highway 122 inclusive of development costs incurred by the current owners and as reflected in the agreement, for the purpose of protecting Moody Air Force Base from encroachment.

It doesn’t say where that 41.543 acres is. But the Lowndes County Tax Assessors online web pages and map find it as 7404 E HWY 122, 2.4 miles north of Moody AFB. Continue reading

No rezonings: Moody AFB, Courts, DA, Safety, Road, Nelson Hill Lift State @ LCC 2022-01-24

Update 2022-01-24: Board packet and Why should Lowndes County spend half a million dollars to subsidize a developer? 2022-01-24

The neverending Miller Bridge Road subdivision is not in this Lowndes County Commission agenda for Monday and Tuesday. For that, see the Planning Commission agenda for January 31, 2022.

But the County Commission agenda does contain two examples of how taxpayers are subsidizing development in Lowndes Counta. The $45,742.00 for the 5.d. Nelson Hill Lift Station Pump Upgrade is “Due to growth in the area”: growth the county is actively promoting.

The $568,971.00 for 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC is a markup of $323,971 over the price that property sold for last year, supposedly to protect Moody AFB, even though how is not said and it’s 2.4 miles away.

[Agenda, Nelson Hill Lift Station]
Agenda, Nelson Hill Lift Station

Cost What
$568,971.00 Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC
$45,742.00Nelson Hill Lift Station Pump Upgrade
$16,496.88 AT&T Switched Ethernet Circuit Continuation of Service
$631,209.88Total

Nelson Hill Sewer Lift Station

On the one hand, I commend Lowndes County Utilities for staying ahead of sewer system demand and thus preventing sewage spills. On the other hand, look at why the agenda sheet says: Continue reading

Code Enforcement Appreciation and new Tourism Authority Director @ LCC Regular Session 2021-09-14

At the recent Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, County Manager Paige Dukes in her Reports mentioned many then-upcoming events, two of which are still coming, and may be of public interest:

  • 2021-09-21, 4:30 PM, at Georgia Beer Co.: Meet and greet for new Executive Director, David DiSalvo, of Valdosta-Lowndes Conference Center and Tourism Authority. https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-j-disalvo-9048b24
  • 2021-09-28, 6PM, in Commission Chambers: Comp Plan stakeholder meeting just after next LCC meeting, Most recent draft of Comprehensive Plan was on Commissioners’ desks; is available electronically (where?).

None of these events are on the lowndescounty.com online calendar.

[Code Enforcement, RV Sales, Reports, End time]
Code Enforcement, RV Sales, Reports, End time

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

Videos: VLPRA, RV sales, Moody AFB Fire Dept., Tax Assessors @ LCC 2021-09-13

By far the longest item at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session yesterday morning was the presentation on the VLPRA Master Plan by their consultant David Barth, taking 34 minutes.

Second longest was 8.d. GMASS Commercial Contract for the Tax Asessors office. Each of these got more than a minute: the RV sales expansion item, and 8.b. Fire and Emergency Services Agreement between Lowndes County and MFAB.

[VLPRA, RV sales, Moody AFB Fire Dept., Tax Assessors]
VLPRA, RV sales, Moody AFB Fire Dept., Tax Assessors

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

GMASS for Tax Assessors, Fire, Foam, Moody, RV, Courthouse, Alcohol @ LCC 2021-09-13

Update 2021-09-14: LAKE videos.

The Tax Assessors having no commercial appraisers left are hiring GMASS to appraise commercial properties, for $108,000 over three years.

Four times as much will go to early cleanup work at the historic Courthouse.

Cost What
$411,125.00Lowndes County Historic Courthouse Early Demolition and Abatement GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price)
$108,000.00 GMASS Commercial Contract for Tax Assessors
$519,125.00Total

This is on the agenda this morning for the Lowndes County Commission. At this Work Session, they have two extra items: Code Enforcement Appreciation and VLPRA Adopted Master Plan Presentation by Dr. David Barth (Work Session).

They will vote Tuesday evening, on these and other items including a Fire Department agreement with Moody AFB, expansion of an RV sales company, and beer and wine sales.

[Alcohol, RV, Tax Assessors contractor]
Alcohol, RV, Tax Assessors contractor

Below is the agenda. Update 2021-09-14: The board packet is on the LAKE website due to a LAKE open records request.

See also the preceding Planning Commission agenda and board packet and LAKE videos.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Videos: Commissioner Comments, Mud Swamp Road, Fire Millage, Hightower Road, GEFA @ LCC 2021-08-24

Very unusual: two Commissioners commented at the end. Chairman Bill Slaughter had already been quite clear that the new fire department millage was to aid population growth in unincorporated parts of the county. Mark Wisenbaker thought the fire department millage was premature because it did not consider land with no structures, agricultural land, etc. He was the only Commissioner to vote against 5.l. Adoption of Unincorporated Fire Millage. Clay Griner thought it was something they could improve as they go along.

None of them mentioned that the fire millage applies to personal property as well as to real estate (land). At least one of the Commissioners was unaware of this, and, since none of them ever seem to have mentioned it to the public, I’d bet the public is unaware unless they carefully examined their property tax statements. Applying that fire millage also to personal property is apparently how they kept it as low as they announced in the millage rate hearing. Nevermind such a personal property millage falls heaviest on companies with the most personal property, which would likely be Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), commonly known as the paper mill at Clyattville. It’s not clear that companies with much personal property are the most in need of new fire services.

[Hightower Road, Fire Millage, Mud Swamp Road, Commissioner Comments]
Hightower Road, Fire Millage, Mud Swamp Road, Commissioner Comments

The County’s support of unincorporated growth apparently includes building next to wetlands, or in areas the Army Corps of Engineers recently declared not to be wetlands, since that had just been discussed by County Manager Paige Dukes and the Chairman.

I have an idea! How about build only close in to existing services, instead of sprawling farther out, where no taxes will ever pay enough for sending school buses, Sheriff, and Fire. See this report the County commissioned: The Local Government Fiscal Impacts of Land Use in Lowndes County: Revenue and Expenditure Streams by Land Use Category, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Ph.D., Dorfman Consulting, December 2007. As Dr. Dorfman summarized in a different presentation,

Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as
sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.

sprawl Trees and crops don’t call the Sheriff or the Fire Department much and don’t need school buses, but subdivisions do, so forestry and agriculture are far more cost-effective in tax collection vs. services.

Everything except the Fire Dept. millage passed unanimously. Even the late-added mystery-location 5.j. Proposed Sale of County Real Property to Industrial Authority, which came with no map, no street address, and no parcel numbers.

Here are LAKE videos of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the Continue reading

Outgrant: Moody AFB Hightower Road easement to Lowndes County @ LCC 2021-08-23

Another LAKE open records request yielded the missing Exhibits for Approval of Easement Documents for Hightower Road in the agenda for the August 23 and 24 Lowndes County Commission meetings:

Exhibit A – Description of Premises
Exhibit B – Map of Premises
Exhibit C – Physical Condition Report
Exhibit D – Environmental Baseline Survey

The entire document with the Exhibits is now on the LAKE website: Instrument Number: USAF-ACC-QSEU-21-2-0318: DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE GRANT OF EASEMENT FOR LOWNDES COUNTY, GEORGIA ON MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA, SAF/GCN 7 July 2021 Approved B. Hood.

[Exhibit B: Map of Premises]
Exhibit B: Map of Premises

There’s good news at the end of Exhibit D: Continue reading

Videos: Potential litigation, Millage, Hightower Road, Bellsouth, Val Del Estates, 911, Alapaha Plantation, Manhole Emergency, Private Roads, Alcohol * 2 @ LCC Work 2021-08-23

The Lowndes County Commission votes tonight at 5:30 PM, after minimal discussion yesterday morning.

At the end of yesterday morning’s Work Session, County Manager Paige Dukes asked for an Executive Session to discuss pending litigation, plus a bigger than usual room to meet in, due to wanting many department heads there.

Earlier, Chairman Bill Slaughter asked to add an agenda item for sale of real property to the Industrial Authority. There was no discussion of this item, simply the addition of the item to the agenda for the voting session. Apparently all the commissioners know all about this from some executive session. The public knows nothing.

Also, Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker asked to move the two millage adoption items to the end of the agenda for tonight.

The only thing they spent more than two minutes on was 5.h. Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center. 5.h. Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and the board packet.