Tag Archives: parks

County setting parks legacy –April Huntley

LTE in the VDT today. -jsq

I would like to inform the community that the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners has announced their “Consideration of Proposed List” for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VII on July 22-23, 2013. It can be viewed on LowndesCounty.com.

The part of the budget that is most impressive to me is the allocation to Parks & Recreation. Its allocation is 3.5 million dollars. We need good recreation for our families in Lowndes County and to me this number sounds like our county commissioners take it serious.

I would also like to send out a big thank you to the commissioners for putting a Community Center in Naylor and a boat ramp on the Alapaha River as part of the purpose for the Parks and Recreation allocation.

Lowndes County needs public access to the beautiful Alapaha River as residents have enjoyed the river for generations. I hope the community will come together over this project and create a legacy for generations to come. Please send thank yous, ideas and comments to the commission about the Naylor project:

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I would like more information on the “partners meetings” —Barbara Stratton @ VLPRA 2012 04 19

Received today on Finance, Facilities, and Projects @ VLPRA 2012 04 19. -jsq

I would like more information on the “partners meetings” beginning with why these meetings are not announced as public meetings. The video link lists partners as The Boys & Girls Club and The YMCA. There is a long history of both of these private organizations being mixed into the Valdosta/Lowndes parks & recreation government operations including past competitions between these private sector elements. One of the main reasons Public/Private Partnerships are not in the citizen’s best interests is the fact the private entities are used to evade government transparency responsibilities. If the VLPRA is going to consider themselves partners with any private organization then the public has a right to know what is being discussed & what future plans are being considered. Those of us who are aware of past conflicts with partial privatizations of parks & recreation have a right to know that safeguards are enacted to prevent a return to situations that were not always in the best interest of the citizens and/or created sweetheart deals for private entities. Any private organization who claims to be non-profit should have to submit to an independent audit and also account for how for profit revenues relate to non-profit claims. When any organization that claims non-profit status in order to receive tax credits, grant monies, and United Way funds can have a million dollar plus extortion operation siphoning off revenues at the same time something is not right. Local taxpayers have a right to know that full disclosure and auditing methods are being employed to prevent any repeat situations before partnering is allowed.

-Barbara Stratton

Finance, Facilities, and Projects @ VLPRA 2012 04 19

Imagine an appointed body that likes citizen input, and even puts (some) board packet items on its website before its meetings! Parks and Rec is that body.

With 1.5 mil of our tax dollars every year, it’s good to see the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA) reviewing finances:

At the end of February, the Parks and Rec had $2.69 million in cash, $541,000 in liabilities, and that leaves about $2.1 million….

For the eight months ending February 29, tax receipts $3.22 million. That’s $79,000 dollars more tax receipts than for the eight months of the previous year.

So that’s about $4.3 million per year in tax receipts, plus SPLOST money (see the video). The board didn’t have any questions about finance.

At least we can see some results of their money, such as Continue reading

Parks and Rec @ LCC 2012 03 26

George Page, Executive Director of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreational Authority (VLPRA), gave a presentation to the Lowndes County Commission Work Session, 26 March 2012.

Here’s a playlist:

Parks and Rec
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 March 2012.
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).




The group overwhelmingly supported the building of… —Matt Portwood

Second of two reports on last night’s VLPRA steering committee received today. -jsq
The message of Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority Executive Director George Page was clear at tonight’s Master Planning Steering Committee workshop when he told the group “I’m not a fan of the status quo.” If you’ve followed the work of Mr. Page and the staff of the VLPRA, especially their work on securing the upcoming baseball tournament which is projected to have an economic impact of about $250,000, then you know that this is no exaggeration.

The meeting tonight was the first of a series of meetings that are geared toward getting public involvement in the upcoming Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan. The VLPRA has contracted with the Nashville-based architectural and land planning group Lose and Associates, to conduct the comprehensive plan. Lose is pronounced more like the geologic term defining windborne silt (loess), and less like how we identify the team that scores fewer goals in a soccer match (lose). The meeting tonight, which was led by two Lose planners, was focused on evaluating current VLPRA programs and facilities and offering suggestions for future improvements.

This evening’s group of about 15 participants consisted of

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We had interesting discussions at our group table —Barbara Stratton

First of two reports on last night’s VLPRA steering committee received today. -jsq
If you attended any of the CUEE meetings the format was exactly the same. We were divided into groups. Each person wrote down their answers to a list of questions they handed out. Then each group was told to combine their answers into a group list which was written on poster size dry erase sheets. Then the sheets were displayed on the wall in front of all the groups & the answers were discussed. I had to leave when they were discussing the answers to the first question which was: List the 5 things you think are most important to improve the parks & recreation program. I am assuming the group lists were combined into a master list for that question. They were doing each question all the way through before going to the next question. I brought the list of questions with me intending to share what they were but I left my notebook in the car trunk of the person I was riding with & forgot to get it when we left the Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner. I will not retrieve the notebook until Tuesday, but if you want to know the questions I will send them to you then. If you want more info in the meantime Karen Noll was there also. She came late & probably stayed the entire time. We had interesting discussions at our group table & I’m sure a lot of interesting subjects were covered. However,
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Maybe we citizens need to hear the rest of the story —Barbara Stratton

Received today on Ashley Paulk is a big man again:
Ref comments by outof control – This is definitely confusing. I don’t see anything in the controversy about contracts being put out to bid. Isn’t the fact an electrical company owned by one of the board members was contracted to do work on a government project illegal conflict of interest? It appears to me that someone needs to come in & educate all the government entities (elected & appointed)& the public in Lowndes Co on what conflict of interest means.

I have seen several incidents in government meetings where an elected or appointed individual excused himself from voting because of an admitted COI. How does that excuse the COI when COI also includes impaired objectivity, unequal access to information, etc. Basically if there is any connection between a government elected or appointed official & a private company contractual relationships of any kind come under COI & are not supposed to be allowed even if a bid process takes place.

That is another reason why citizens should not allow public/private partnerships. Normal bidding procedures are ignored

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The Council of Hamlets meets tonight in Valdosta!

The Valdosta City Council regular meeting is tonight. You remember them, the council that may or may not be able to say whether or not they can or cannot speak during, at the end of, or after their council meetings. Tonight they appoint people to boards that decide who can put up how big a sign, and that spend millions in your tax money.

I want to see if Mayor Fretti will keep to his word to expand the Wiregrass Solar plant.

Also, maybe now this city council can do what Gretna, Florida, did: put out a proclamation saying there will be no biomass plant. Or they could sit on their hands some more and wait until some Sonny finds a way to do it anyway.

They have lots of other stuff on their agenda for tonight, including an appointment to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBOA), and an appointment to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority.

ZBOA decides on variances to Valdosta’s LDR and Lowndes County’s ULDC, including sign variances, much to the annoyance of some local entitled rich people and of McDonald’s.

Parks & Rec receives 1.5 mil of tax money, about $4.5 million dollars a year, more than the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA). Parks and Rec board members get to spend that tax money that you pay.

5:30 PM Thursday, June 9, 2011
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Parks and Rec. Appointment, Lowndes County, Georgia

Previously, the Valdosta City Council appointed City Council member Robert Yost to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA). The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners debated appointing a Commissioner to the VLPRA at their June 8 meeting:

They decided to appoint their chairman, Ashley Paulk, to the VLPRA. Chairman Paulk said he would serve, but as a private citizen. I wonder then what the point was of appointing him, rather than someone else.

When Valdosta appointed Yost, Ashley Paulk provided this statement to the VDT: Continue reading