Tag Archives: money

Land is not just money: appeal tax valuations today

Appeal today if you think there’s more to land (or business) and woods and fields and streams than money, unlike the Tax Assessors, whose revaluation would drive development into agricultural areas of the county where it doesn’t belong, while avoiding populated areas such as the south side of Valdosta. We can expect pipeline companies and utilities from other states to think nothing of pillaging our lands for their profit. We shouldn’t expect that of our neighbors whom we elected Tax Asssessors. If you have affection for your land, your county, your neighborhood, today’s the deadline to appeal your valuation. And there will be an election later.

As Wendell Berry said,

Whatever has happened in what economists call “the economy,” it is generally true that the land economy has been discounted or ignored.

Are the Tax Assessors boomers? Are you a sticker? Wendell Berry explains: Continue reading

VDT should dig deeper into county trash

The VDT should dig deeper into the finances of Lowndes County trash collection. Nobody has ever seen an accounting of where where the money went for the county’s former waste collection sites, so nobody knows whether the county was really losing money or how much, and the county’s version of how those sites had to be paid for doesn’t match state law.. Sure, Bill Slaughter defending a decision made when Ashley Paulk was chair is amusing, but instead of transcribing what county officials tell it, the VDT could find lots more under the county’s garbage with a little digging.

Jason Schaefer write for the VDT Thursday, Concerns continue over garbage agreement: Business owner argues case against County

The County is not required under Georgia law to issue RFPs to any company for waste disposal services, according to Slaughter. That decision was made in a good-faith effort to find the lowest possible rate for garbage service for the citizens of Lowndes County, he said Tuesday.

Is that the point of county government, to act like Wal-Mart? Is money the only value the county government can name? Everyone I talked to about the trash issue in 2012 who already had a waste collection card said they’d be willing to pay more to keep the sites open. Maybe if the county had held public hearings they would have learned that.

And does anyone believe ADS’s rates are going to stay that low? Look at Wakulla, Florida, where it’s $196/year. But the bigger question is why did the county privatize trash collection anyway?

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January 2013 LAKE meeting: Let’s Eat Cafe, Valdosta

Local governance: Water, trash, and money.

What: Monthly LAKE Meeting
When: 7 PM, Tuesday
29 January 2013
Where: Let's Eat Cafe
2102 W. Hill Ave.
(just west of I-75,
at the Shell station)
Valdosta, GA 31601

View Larger Map

Don't let the location fool you: Let's Eat is locally owned, and serves a lot of locally-grown food.

Agenda, not necessarily in this order:

  1. Roads and river access
  2. Solid waste disposal
  3. Local government transparency
  4. Zero owed in 2010; why $8.9 million owed now on county palace?
  5. Distributed solar power for jobs including GA SB 41 vs. failing nuclear power
  6. Fast Internet access everywhere
  7. Other

If you're on Facebook, please Like the LAKE facebook page. You can sign up for the meeting event there, Or just come as you are.


Videos: money and transparency @ LCC 2013-01-08

The new Commission with the new portrait got to hear about money and transparency right away. And a surprise alcoholic vote caused by their lack of transparency.

Crawford Powell (Dist. 3), Richard Raines (Dist. 2), Bill Slaughter (Chairman), Joyce Evans (Dist. 1), John Page (Dist. 5), Demarcus Marshall (Dist. 4).

Here’s the agenda, with links to videos, and a few notes, followed by a video playlist. See also the Monday Work Session.

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How about as a first step the Chamber pledge… —Jim Parker

Received today on Why the Chamber Supports Unification. -jsq
So true, John. There was no meat in the whole letter. The last line sums it up, “We BELIEVE…” yada, yada, yada. Faith based thinking might fly in religious institutions, but in the education of our children, we have a pretty good handle on what is needed. Deferring to those trained and with years of experience in the education of our children, who have brought countless facts to the discussion, none of which the Chamber can or has bothered to refute, I will go along with both Boards of Education and vote NO to consolidation.

I did note that Mr Gooding offered to “combine our resources and our efforts and work together as a community to transform two average school systems…” Since he used the first person plural “our,”

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He who has the gold rules —Mike Hill

Finally, some truth from the Chamber! “Unification” has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with “He who has the gold rules.” Not any Realtors’ fault of course, “The Realtor doesn’t drive to showings; she just turns the wheel and hits the gas.” So they’d rather destroy public education through a proven failed “unification” than deal with their claimed perception problem. -jsq

‘No’ Vote May Hit You Where You Live

By Mike Hill
Valdosta resident

I’m not qualified to talk about the quality of school systems in Valdosta or Lowndes County, probably a rare admission these days. I am qualified to talk about the damage done to Valdosta residential real estate by the perception that one system is better than the other. It ain’t pretty and it’s getting worse.

I’ve been a Realtor since 1976, when newcomers couldn’t house hunt until they rolled in with the kids, dogs and all the furniture looking for yard signs and a local newspaper, which led them to agents and property managers, who then sold or rented them a home. Boy, has that changed!

I’ve got friends teaching or retired from both city and county systems who tell me that a good education is available from either system for students who want one. But newcomers concerned about their children’s education have consistently been getting a different message long before they ever see a “sale” or “rent” sign here.

Unlike even 10 years ago, Internet magic now allows newcomers to arrive armed with all the statistical knowledge our two school boards provide, plus state and federal statistics. And right or wrong, the perception those statistics create that one system is better or worse than the other travels like gossip between anybody anywhere in the world with an Internet connection who has or can create the slightest link to anybody in Valdosta/Lowndes County with one.

How do I know this? Because families walking into my real estate office to buy or rent “in the county school district” who have never been here before has been consistently increasing for years. Newcomers concerned about their children’s education will sacrifice a garage or fenced yard from the “wish list” for their new home, plus make higher payments, for a county location. It irks me that retired city school superintendent Sam Allen has publicly accused Realtors of adding to a problem that started well before he retired from the city school system. Realtors, he has publicly stated, avoid showing houses for sale in city school districts.

Space isn’t available to address the absurdity of that statement, except to quote the other side of the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold rules.” The Realtor doesn’t drive to showings; she just turns the wheel and hits the gas. The client started driving the car the minute he got into the passenger seat with his checkbook and knew where he wanted to go before he and his family came to town. Accurate or not, perceptions about differences in our split school system exist, with serious consequences in several different directions that aren’t going away. Industries may avoid us, for instance, and we’ll never know how many jobs we lost. In real estate, “perception” makes the value of a house on the city side of a street worth less than an identical house on the county side of the street.

Neither of those things are good and without change, it’s not going to get any better, either.

The Chamber hasn’t spent any money on a consolidation campaign? What’s this, then?

Etta Mims reports that Myrna Ballard told her on the telephone Thursday a week ago that the Chamber hasn’t invested any money in the school consolidation campaign. Myrna did admit that she spent some of her time and some time of one staff member. Etta asked Myrna was not time money? At that point Myrna stated Etta had hurt her feelings, and she was going to get off the phone.

Etta wonders why, then, do we find the glossy advertisement you see on the right here at http:// www. chamberorganizer .com/ valdostachamber /docs/ October 2 News Ad Get the FACTS.pdf, when www. chamberorganizer .com/ valdostachamber looks like one usual place the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce puts web materials it funds?

We already knew Myrna Ballard advised Rusty Griffin about that notorious fake-Morgan-Freeman radio ad.

I wonder, if the Chamber didn’t pay for that new ad, who did? Ditto for the radio ad. And who did Rusty Griffin have to get to sign off on it?

Also, I’m still looking forward to hearing any “FACTS” from the Chamber. So far every alleged “FACT” from CUEE or the Chamber about “unification” or consolidation has been readily disproved, and David Mullis has compiled the real facts.


Occupy Valdosta Flyers

Already more people have signed up to march Friday than showed up at the Chamber’s event last night. Here are some flyers. There’s an Occupy Valdosta organizational meeting tonight; more in the blog after that. The traditional media are starting to flock around, as well.


Occupy Valdosta

It’s spread from Wall Street to Valdosta, scheduled for noon-3PM Friday 14 October 2011:
It is time to Occupy Valdosta!


We are the 99% and it is time to be heard!!!

Erin speaking at the organizational meeting today:

Y’all come!


SGMC absorbs Smith Northview Hospital

What could that $55 million or that $100 million have been used for that would have improved medical care around here?

Kay Harris wrote for the VDT yesterday, SGMC acquisition of Smith Northview official:

Beginning today, Smith Northview is an official campus of South Georgia Medical Center.

Officials from the Hospital Authority of Valdosta-Lowndes County and Ameris Health Systems gathered Wednesday at SGMC to sign the paperwork together to finalize the sale.

SGMC purchased Smith Northview for $55 million, with no assumption of debt. Hospital Authority Attorney Walter H. New said the purchase was financed through an 18-month bridge loan, which is anticipated to be paid in full in December when SGMC is expected to have a $100 million bond issue to pay for current and future projects on the main hospital campus.

Interim CEO for Smith Northview, Shamb Purohit, said, “This is a wonderful moment and we need to celebrate it.”

Yeah, well, he’s paid to say that. I say it’s a sad day. First Smith Hospital moved from Hahira Continue reading