Tag Archives: public transportation

Help fix land revaluation: come to Farm Bureau –Board of Equalization

Come to the Farm Bureau in two weeks to hear Tax Assessor staff present their updates and provide your input Contents for changes to the rural land revaluation, this time taking into account rivers, aquifer recharge zones, and uniformity. Maybe the Tax Assessors actually don’t want more flooding in Valdosta; both the City of Valdosta and GA-EDP have already shown interest in attending about that point.

At an appeal on my property valuation, the Board of Equalization stopped short of actually ordering the Tax Assessors to redo last year’s rural land revaluation, because staff volunteered Continue reading

Monday August 10th deadline to appeal tax valuations –VLCoC

Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce members just got a message from Bruce Allred, Government Affairs Council Chairman, saying:


You can look up your property on the Tax Assessors’ website: www.qpublic.net/ga/lowndes.

See also the LAKE Videos: Rural revaluation meeting at Farm Bureau 2015-08-04.

That Chamber message includes this useful information: Continue reading

Videos: Rural revaluation meeting at Farm Bureau 2015-08-04

See for yourself the Tax Assessor response to local landowners, in these LAKE videos of last night’s meeting at Farm Bureau. Do you think there’s a problem? If so, what do you think we should do to fix it?

The attendees appointed Gretchen to take notes. Here are her notes, followed by the videos.

Accessibility is not about access, it’s about geographic location…. That was done by one of our appraisers on staff. —Chief Appraiser Silas Hrobar

Rural and commercial land owners got surprises in the mail in July when they received the updated assessments of their properties. Lowndes County Assessors engaged a contractor last year to help with the reassessments of approximately 10,000 properties. Rural properties were categorized as small (under 20 acres) and large (over 20 acres) but complaints were the same, inconsistent and confusing application of criteria.

On Tuesday evening, Farm Bureau hosted Continue reading

Rural revaluation meeting at Farm Bureau 2015-08-04

Are Bill Gates and subdivisions really more important than agriculture or rivers or public transportation? Come to Farm Bureau tomorrow evening and find out what’s going on with the rural land revaluation. facebook event.

When: 7PM, Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Where: 3296 Greystone Way, Valdosta, GA, (229) 242-7876

By: Farm Bureau board member Buddy Coleman called this meeting.

What: Compare the Comprehensive Plan to this revaluation here (PDF).

Sprawl: sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin (Or at least big tax increases). PDF of the report by UGA Prof. Jeffrey H. Dorfman Lowndes County paid for in 2007, The Local Government Fiscal Impacts of Land Use in Lowndes County.

Who: At least some of the Lowndes County Tax Assessors Continue reading

Rural tax revaluation: Bill Gates and subdivisions more important than agriculture and public transportation?

Does this rural land revaluation map resemble the Comprehensive Plan Future Development map? Tax Assessors: Rural Land Accessibility Codes Why not? And why were rivers and public transportation not considered either by the Lowndes County Tax Assessors while tracts with road frontage were considered the “highest market area” and land purchases by Bill Gates were considered “benchmark sales” instrumental in pricing large tracts?

This rural land revaluation is yet another vehicle to drive development straight north into the agricultural areas of the county, not even stopping at the Withlacoochee River.

That way lies sprawl, which as Dr. Jeffrey H. Dorfman of UGA has said, “is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin* * Or at least big tax increases.”

The City of Valdosta better watch out! Much of this Continue reading

Green corridors are good for people, business, plants, and animals

Some of this is happening locally: Valdosta is planting trees along Hill Avenue, Lowndes County is building Naylor Park with a boat ramp that will be part of the Alapaha River Water Trail and VLPRA has long been thinking about a blueway on the Withlacoochee River, where it already has a string of parks and ramps. Valdosta has the Azalea City Trail across several parks and VSU. Imagine if that Trail extended a little farther on each end, connecting the Withlacoochee River and the Alapaha River: a greenway between two blueways. Imagine if Lowndes County planted trees in that concrete median in Bemiss Road. Imagine a bus running down that parkway….

Janice Astbury, the nature of cities, 29 March 2015, Green Transport Routes Are Social-Cultural-Ecological Corridors,

…natural corridors do not appear on the standard online GPS systems that people increasingly use to plan their routes. In other cases, the path is suddenly interrupted by infrastructure hostile to pedestrians and cyclists. It is clear that green and active transport routes are an afterthought, an add-on, rather than a core part of the city’s transport strategy.

Local government should invest in developing and maintaining the natural connective tissue of the city. In the same way that significant investment is made in arterial roads because they are believed to serve everyone and to connect up vital places, so inviting connective green infrastructure should be supported. The canals, footpaths, and cycleways that provide routes for active transport should appear prominently on maps and signage. Whole systems should be indicated when possible, even when portions of them are currently inaccessible, in order to enhance system understanding, and to encourage thinking about connecting up fragmented corridors.

Few people complain when a county or city spends millions of dollars on Continue reading

T-SPLOST losing statewide, but not in Region 11

It sounds like good news for T-SPLOST opponents, until you look at the details.

Eve Chen wrote for 11Alive yesterday, 11Alive Poll | T-SPLOST would not pass today

Among likely voters surveyed by SurveyUSA for 11Alive News, across the state, 48% said they would vote against T-SPLOST and 36% said they would vote for it if the primary were today; 16% were still undecided. The margin of error was 3.4%.

But look at the details. The big No regions are Atlanta metro and northwards (see Question 1). In our Region 11 it’s Yes 41%, No 33%, Not Certain 26% so there’s work to be done. Do we want to end up stuck with projects we don’t need after Atlanta votes down its region in a referendum that was designed to pass in Atlanta?

My favorite is question 6:

How likely is it that the state government would properly handle the funds if the transportation tax increase is passed?

In region 11, Very 17%, Somewhat 24%, Not Very 25%, Not At All 21%, Not Sure 14%. Trust problem, GDOT?

And nobody is buying the scare tactics. See Question 4, for which every region says by around 2 to 1 that traffic would stay about the same without T-SPLOST. Question 3 indicates few even think T-SPLOST would improve traffic. We also know a Plan B is possible. How about a Plan B including public transportation for south Georgia to help people get to work?


Unemployed need public transit to get to jobs: T-SPLOST doesn’t help

If you're unemployed, you may not be able to afford a car: then how do you get to work even if you can find a job? As our own Industrial Authority's Community Assessment of last October said, we need public transportation to promote business by getting employees to jobs. T-SPLOST doesn't do that: it would widen more roads and build no public transportation.

Peter S. Goodman wrote for Huffington Post today, Unemployment Problem Includes Public Transportation That Separates Poor From Jobs

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — In the two months since he lost his job driving a delivery truck for a door company, Lebron Stinson has absorbed a bitter geography lesson about this riverfront city: The jobs are in one place, he is in another, and the bus does not bridge the divide.

Stinson lives downtown, where many of the factories that once employed willing hands have been converted into chic eateries. The majority of jobs are out in the suburbs, in the strip malls, office parks and chain restaurants that stretch eastward. Most of this sprawl lies beyond reach of the public bus system, and Stinson cannot afford a car.

The report Janus Economic did for VLCIA 11 October 2011, Community & Economic Assessment: Lowndes County says:

There is a plan for a public transportation system in Valdosta-Lowndes County but it currently lacks funding for implementation. Under current budget constraints it will be difficult to implement such a project, but businesses in the industrial parks and outlying areas may want to implement a limited transportation system if they discover that employee attendance is an issue.

That would be the plan for $7.5 million for a four line bus system that got cut first pass from the T-SPLOST project list, while widening a few miles of Old US 41 North got raised from $8 million to $12 million and is still in the final list.

T-SPLOST would promote more sprawl of exactly the kind we don't need. Let's not do that.


Why did old US 41 N increase from $8 M to $12 M? —John S. Quarterman @ SGRC 2011-09-19

I asked why the Old US 41 North widening project changed from $8 million on the unconstrained list to $12 million on the constrained list, an increase of $4 million or 50% when the description did not change? The answer indicates GDOT and local governments want to drive development north in the county, leaving pedestrians and bicyclists stranded yet having to pay.

Corey Hull responded:

Halfway through we received new cost estimates….

GDOT did the cost estimates, in cooperation with the local government that was responsible for that.

A state employee told me after the meeting that GDOT raised some estimates because it thought the local government, in this case the Lowndes County Commission and staff, didn’t put in enough to cover the project. I don’t know whether GDOT was figuring by Atlanta costs or not…. At least the cost didn’t go up further in the final project list; I just checked and it’s still $12 million.

Corey elaborated that some projects increased and some decreased. I asked him which ones did which. He said he’d have to go back and compare. Later he helped me produce a list of comparisons of costs of Lowndes County projects, which shows that one went down by 30% and three went up by 50% or more. One, RC11-000099 St. Augustine at Norman Intersection Improvements, went up by 131.5%.

That $12 million for widening less than 3 miles of one road is more than one item that was in the unconstrained list but cut from the constrained list: $7.5 million for a bus system, with three bus lines that would connect Wiregrass Tech, Five Points, Downtown, Moody, East Side, South Side, West Side, and the Mall. A bus system recommended by the Industrial Authority’s Community Assessment to aid in employee attendance, industry recruitment, and workforce.

You could probably even start up a substantial commuter rail system using existing freight line tracks for less than $12 million. Even though GDOT apparently only believes in roads and bridges, busses and trains are actually more cost-effective, especially for lower-income people. The same lower-income people who will be disproportionately taxed by T-SPLOST as a percentage of their income.

Instead, the description for the Old US 41 North project admits the county is driving Continue reading

T-SPLOST discretionary projects —Winter 2012 SGRC Newsletter

Received from Corey Hull 9 January 2012:
Please find attached the “Transportation in the Region” newsletter for the Southern Georgia Regional Commission and the Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization. For more information please visit our website at www.sgrc.us/transportation.
I’ve put a copy on the LAKE website here.

Here’s the lead story:

Local Discretionary Project Lists for TIA

On October 10, 2011 the Southern Georgia Regional Transportation Roundtable approved a regional transportation project list that contains 75% of the funds this region would receive if a transportation sales and use tax is approved by the voters on July 31, 2012. The tax is estimated to generate $670,985,361 total; $503,239,020 of which is reserved for the 75% regional projects list.

The remaining 25% of the funds ($167,746,439) are allocated to local governments by formula (based on population and road centerline miles). While these funds are to be spent at the discretion of each local government on transportation related projects, it is recommended that your local government begin to consider how these funds might be spent over the next 10 years. By identifying these projects now, your local voters will be able to know how all of the funds from this proposed sales and use tax will be spent in their local community.

In order to have a central source for information about the proposed sales tax, we are asking local governments to submit their project lists for the 25% discretionary funding by March 31, 2012 to the following address: SGRC; ATTN: Corey Hull; 327 W Savannah Ave.; Valdosta, GA 31602; or by email at chull@sgrc.us.

It will be interesting to see what projects local governments submit. Maybe you’d like to suggest something to them.

Hm, looks like there’s plenty of discretionary funds for a bus system such as is recommended by the Industrial Authority’s Community Assessment.