Tag Archives: Paige Dukes

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

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).

Pritchard hands over to Dukes as Lowndes County Manager @ LCC 2020-07-14

On August 1, 2020, Paige Dukes will be the new County Manager, after the 20-year reign of Joe Pritchard.

Paige Dukes, County Clerk, 2011-10-13
Paige Dukes, County Clerk, Lunch and Learn, 2011-10-13

Chris Herbert, Valdosta Daily Times, 14 July 2020, Dukes named Lowndes County Manager,

The vote was a split decision, 3-2, with commissioners Joyce Evans, Clay Griner and Scottie Orenstein voting in favor. Demarcus Marshall and Mark Wisenbaker opposed.

Marshall said his no vote was because he wanted to see the position advertised to open the pool up to other candidates.

“I would expect no less than to have this position advertised,” Marshall said. “To advertise it is saying, ‘we’re not just the good ole boys system or good ole girls system.'”

Wisenbaker said he wanted to see a “fresh” perspective from county leadership and hoped a broader search could provide some new outlooks for the county’s future.

“I voted no because I think the citizens of Lowndes County need to be better represented. We need to advertise this job…There’s nothing personal against Ms. Dukes. She’s been here a while. She does a good job. It’s just being able to look out there and see what we may be missing,” he said. “We got a $120 million budget. That’s not small and we need the right people and the right person to carry this on. And we need fresh ideas. We need a fresh person, in my opinion, that can bring new things to the table.”

Those two were in the minority, however, and the three in support said they are certain Dukes is the right decision.

“I’ve been on this board for six years, and Continue reading

Videos: SPLOST VIII, Grassy Pond Sewer, and Hospital Authority funding @ LCC 2019-07-23

Five and a half minutes of the Regular Session fifteen minutes was on the county guaranteeing refinancing Hospital Authority debt, due to County Manager Joe Pritchard reciting what’s in the agreement, and Hospital Authority CEO Bill Forbes speaking, and Chairman Bill Slaughter thanking him. The agreement is in the board packet on the LAKE website from a LAKE open records request.

Hospital Authority

Citizen Michelle Williams of Hahira asked for a spay and neuter ordinance, noting Macon and Dalton have those already. County Clerk Paige Dukes praised Michelle Williams and other volunteers.

Second at almost two minutes was Continue reading

Videos: EOC, KLVB, Grinder Pump, Bank, Computers, Health Ordinance, and Alcohol @ LCC 2018-07-24

Longest at 2.5 minutes: appointment to Parks and Rec. Commissioner Scottie Orenstein was not present at this Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

Not on the agenda and not on the county’s website, Chairman’s Announcement of Emergency Operations Center Open House.

The applicant spoke for 6.a. Beer, Wine & Liquor License – Jack’s Chophouse, 4479 N. Valdosta Rd. We have a winner for the RFP for Banking Services.

Maybe they all finally got to read the 7 d. Ordinance Adopting Current Board of Health Rules, since this time Continue reading

Still inconsistent, but has speed humps: Lowndes County Thoroughfare Plan 2018

The little-known Lowndes County Thoroughfare Plan drives development in Lowndes County. With no public notice and no public hearing. the Commissioners voted on it Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Probably you only heard that would happen if you looked at their agenda late last week, or you happened to read what I wrote about it Monday.

Lowndes County Road Map

Obtained through open records request, it’s on the LAKE website now.

Like the 2009 plan, Continue reading

Videos: Day 2, Planning, Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2018-02-20

These videos are for those of you who have jobs, or responsibilities, which prevent you from taking random days or hours off at a time. Commissioner Marshall was absent from the second day of the retreat because he has a job which does not allow him the flexibility of daytime hours off. (The first day of the retreat was on Presidents Day.)

The topics of discussion ranged from the ever popular litter and trash collection, to special tax districts, fire and emergency response, animal control and the animal shelter, and one of my favorites, electronic records. Most presentations were made either by the county manager or clerk but the current Deep South Solid Waste Authority Chairman Kevin Beals was first up to talk trash.

Below are links to each LAKE video of Day 2, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of Day 1 and Continue reading

Road paving and Alapaha BoatRamp in Naylor Town Hall @ LCC 2016-04-14 @ LCC 2016-04-14

Most people wanted to know which roads would be paved when, in Bemiss, to Alapaha Subdivision, and next to the new Civic Center. Steve Stalvey (Utilities), Mike Fletcher (Engineer), Joe Pritchard (County Manager), Joyce Evans (Dist. 1), George Page (VLPRA), Paige Dukes (County Clerk), Demarcus Marshall (Dist. 4), Bill Slaughter (Chairman), seated: Robert & Carolyn Dinkins They did also talk about the planned new civic center and the Alapaha Boatramp they’re building.

I thank the Chairman for clarifying his remark about paving every road in the county. He and other county officials also went on about safety being a big concern, which is news to me, on my road the county insisted on paving that became a drag race track. And what’s this about Continue reading

Cancelled: Lowndes County Commission meetings this week 2016-02-22

Lowndes County website, 17 February 2016, Commission Meetings Canceled:

Due to a lack of agenda items requiring attention at this time, the Lowndes County Commission Meetings scheduled for Monday, February 22, 2016, at 8:30 am and Tuesday, February 23, 2016, at 5:30 pm, have been canceled.

The VDT 17 February 2016 quoted County Clerk Paige Dukes: Continue reading

Videos: Sold out to Sabal Trail @ LCC 2016-01-26

Thank you Commissioner Demarcus Marshall for voting no. Calling it “a good business decision”, the CEO of Waller Heating and Air lauded the others for voting to sell county land for a pittance to a company from Houston, Texas, nevermind their resolution of a year ago. We thought we elected them to represent the people of Lowndes County, and we thought they did back in December 2014 when they unanimously voted “the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners opposes the construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline in any portion of Lowndes County.” But at least one of them (“Wisenbaker) didn’t even remember that the county voted to oppose Sabal Trail. Apparently most of them concur with what the County Engineer said about landowners who have not taken Sabal Trail’s money, “I don’t know who they are.”

Update 2016-01-28: WCTV report, plus Gret chen’s question: “Is less than 50 cents per person in Lowndes County enough to risk drinking water for all?”

Landowners who did take the money mostly did not have Continue reading