Tag Archives: Politics

Videos: Tax Assessor appointed, Special Assessment Rate, VOCA, federal consultant @ LCC Regular

The new Tax Assessor is Richard Holcomb, nominated and appointed by acclamation.

That’s to fill the unexpired term of Gene Felts, who was appointed two weeks ago, got sworn in, and resigned before his first Tax Assessor meeting.

This time, Lowndes County Manager Paige Dukes did read out the list of remaining candidates.

However, we the taxpayers and voters still do not get to see the applications, which are not in this board packet, either.

[Collage @ LCC Regular 23 January 2024]
Collage @ LCC Regular 23 January 2024

The County Manager’s Report took six minutes.

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted to know more about the Animal Shelter budget, which took another minute.

A citizen waved around her Citizens Wishing to Be Heard (CWTBH) form and asked to speak, but was predictably told by Chairman Bill Slaughter that she could not because she did not turn in the form before the meeting. I’m told her name is Kelley Saxon.

In Georgia, many other county commissions converse with citizens during the meeting without requiring a form.

Meanwhile, in Florida, by state law any citizen can speak on any agenda item.

The whole meeting took 16 minutes.

See also the Continue reading

Videos: Appoint another Tax Assessor, Special Assessment Rate, VOCA, federal consultant @ LCC Work 2024-01-22

Update 2024-01-24: Videos: Tax Assessor appointed, Special Assessment Rate, VOCA, federal consultant @ LCC Regular 2024-01-23.

They’re not actually appointing a successor for James Puckett, whose term expired. They’re appointing a Tax Assessor to fill the unexpired term of Gene Felts. At the Regular Session Monday morning, Lowndes County Manager Paige Dukes clarified that Gene Felts was picked at the last meeting (2024-01-08) and he was sworn in on 2024-01-10 however he then resigned for personal reasons.

We the taxpayers and voters still do not get to see the applications, which are not in this board packet, either. This time the County Manager did not even read out the names of the remaining applicants.

Maybe somebody should tell the appointees that substantial hours of training are required after being appointed.

They vote tonight at 5:30 PM.

[Collage @ LCC Work 22 January 2024]
Collage @ LCC Work 22 January 2024

About the Cornerstone state and federal lobbying contract, the County Manager said they were concerned about SB 349. Continue reading

Packet: Appoint another Tax Assessor, Special Assessment Rate, VOCA, federal consultant @ LCC 2024-01-22

Update 2024-01-23: Videos: Appoint another Tax Assessor, Special Assessment Rate, VOCA, federal consultant @ LCC Work 2024-01-22.

The Lowndes County Commission will try again to appoint a Tax Assessor to succeed James Puckett for a three-year term. The board packet does not mention that they did this two weeks ago, but Gene Felts resigned after being sworn in but before his first Tax Assessors meeting. Maybe somebody should tell the appointees that substantial hours of training are required after being appointed.

And we the taxpayers and voters still do not get to see the applications, which are not in this board packet, either.

[Collage, Lowndes County Commission Board Packet 2024-01-22]
Collage, Lowndes County Commission Board Packet 2024-01-22

The rest of the agenda is annual renewals, except for the InfoSend contract to outsource billing.

Here is the agenda.

The board packet, received in response to a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2024, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2024, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

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Videos: Boat Ramps, Okefenokee Swamp, LMIG, Taxes @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07

Update 2023-09-12: Videos: Grant match for Dark Sky and resolution against mine too near Okefenokee Swamp @ Clinch County Commission 2023-09-11

Update 2023-08-10: Chainsaw cleanup, Outings, Boat Ramps, Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07.

It was a brief agenda at the Clinch County Commission, with roads and taxes, plus boat ramps and a proposed resolution against the strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

[Collage @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07]
Collage @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07

Below are pictures, LAKE videos of each agenda item, and links to documents, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

Continue reading

Finances and Okefenokee Swamp @ SGRC 2021-12-09

Here are LAKE videos of (most of) yesterday’s Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) Council meeting yesterday in Pearson, Georgia.

For some of the items, I have included photographs of the first sheet of the relevant handout(s). For the rest of each handout, please contact SGRC.

Thanks to SGRC Council Chair Joyce Evans and Assistant Director Chris Strom for inviting me to come speak about the Okefenokee Swamp in my other hat as Suwannee Riverkeeper; see the WWALS blog post.

[Collage]
Collage: Audit; New member John Clayton (Nashville); DCA Small Cities Conference; Okefenokee Swamp Resolutions –Suwannee Riverkeeper; Jody Redding, GA Gov. Field Rep.

Here is the complete agenda. Continue reading

Okefenokee resolution, Planning Commission, Airport, Sewer system, Road renaming moratorium @ VCC 2021-11-11

With a packed agenda, the Valdosta City Council passed eight resolutions, approved five bids or purchases, and appointed people to four boards, yet the longest discussion was after all that.

[Mayor, Howard, Gibbs, WWTP, Manager & Tooley, Suwannee Riverkeeper]
Mayor, Howard, Gibbs, WWTP, Manager & Tooley, Suwannee Riverkeeper

Perhaps the most far-reaching item was one of the briefest, presented by Mayor Scott James Matheson: 3.f. Resolution in Opposition to a proposed strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, opposing the proposed Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) strip mine or any others within ten miles of the Swamp, asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse its abdication of oversight, asking GA-EPD for a moratorium on all mining permits until effects are settled of the recent court overruling of 2020 Clean Water Act changes, as well as to reject the TPM permits, or at least to review those applications as thoroughly as the Army Corps would, and asking the Georgia legislature to prevent such strip mines near the Swamp or any blackwater rivers in the Suwannee River Basin. Continue reading

Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing 2 @ LCC 2021-10-26

Only one citizen showed up to speak: David Houtz, who asked Commissioners not to change the Character Area Maps, and said he had not seen the latest plan. SGRC’s Elizabeth Backe handed him a copy; she also presented a summary of the process at the beginning of the meeting, and clarified process later.

[Citizen David Houtz, Elizabeth Backe of SGRC, Houtz receives plan, Sparse audience, City Planner Matt Martin, Commissioners Orenstein and Marshall, Commissioners and VDT reporter]
Citizen David Houtz, Elizabeth Backe of SGRC, Houtz receives plan, Sparse audience, City Planner Matt Martin, Commissioners Orenstein and Marshall, Commissioners and VDT reporter

You can see in this LAKE video a discussion between Valdosta and Hahira City Planner Matt Martin and Lowndes County Commissioner Scottie Orenstein about changes to the Hahira Character Area map is not recorded in the minutes, as well as the rest of the 17-minute meeting.

Commissioners discussed the Comprehensive Plan Update again this morning in their Work Session, and they will approve it tomorrow afternoon at 5:30 PM in their Regular Session. Continue reading

Videos: Motorola, Library, SDS, Leadership Lowndes @ LCC 2021-09-28

Two weeks ago, the Lowndes County Commission approved everything unanimously, except 6.c. Consideration of Service Delivery Strategy Agreement Language, for which Commissioner Clay Griner voted against. He didn’t say why.

[Motorola, Library, SDS, Leadership Lowndes]
Motorola, Library, SDS, Leadership Lowndes

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and board packet, and the draft minutes of the previous morning’s Work Session and of this Regular Session.

SDS county road agreement, library, Georgia Forestry @ LCC 2021-09-27

At least part of the long-contentious Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) has been resolved between Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta. The county has agreed not to fund county roads using property taxes from incorporated taxpayers, that is, taxpayers within city limits of any of the five cities in the county.

Plus the county is spending a million dollars on communications equipment, road graders, and an architect for a library addition.

[County roads not to be paid out of city property taxes]
County roads not to be paid out of city property taxes

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Cities and Lowndes County settle service delivery dispute @ LCC 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-10: Not quite settled. Valdosta still has to agree to it.

These must be golden words indeed, to have been worth the hundreds of thousands of legal fees expended over them:

  1. In regards to water and sewer services:

    The Parties’ current water and sewer service areas are delineated on the service area maps attached to the DCA Forms for water and sewer services approved herewith.

    All existing intergovernmental agreements of the Parties regarding the provision of water and sewer services shall remain in effect.

    Any request for an extraterritorial extension shall be negotiated by the requesting Party and the affected Party. Approval of the affected Party shall not be unreasonably withheld.

The wording is “based on trust,” said Commissioner Clay Griner. “Where’s the document?” responded Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker? “It’s on your ipad,” clarified Chair Bill Slaughter.

As the County Clerk proceeded to hand out paper copies, Griner elaborated:

And it’s all based on trust. It’s us trusting, the County Commission trusting the City Council, whichever municipality it is, to do the right thing. The city council has to trust the County Commission to do the right thing. And the citizens to trust all of us to sit down and do the right thing.

After the county didn’t put anything for the citizens to see on the county website about this Wednesday morning meeting until Continue reading