Tag Archives: revenue

Videos: Budget Public Hearing #2, Lowndes County @ LCC Budget 2015-06-23

Only one citizen spoke at the second Budget Hearing 5PM 23 June 2015: Gretchen Quarterman asking for approval of the VLMPO request for funding for a public transportation study. The Chairman said they weren’t going to, and shortly afterwards at their Regular Session they didn’t, although they did approve more than that for a water main subsidy for private developers.

The 5PM meeting was billed on the county’s website as Budget Adoption Meeting and the previous morning by the Chairman as a presentation by the Finance Director. Is it a public hearing if it’s never advertised as a public hearing?

At least the proposed budget is on the county’s website, just not where Continue reading

Budget Adoption Meeting, Lowndes County @ LCC Budget 2015-06-23

A Budget Adoption Meeting 5PM before the 5:30 PM Regular Session, as alluded to at yesterday morning’s Work Session. Is this a second Budget Hearing? Does it count if it’s not advertised as a Hearing? And it turns out the proposed budget is on the county’s website, just not where they previously said it would be.

Budget Adoption Meeting,

[5:00-5:30PM] Tuesday, June 23 Continue reading

Valdosta budget with goals and accomplishments for each department

It’s too bad nobody came to Valdosta’s two public budget hearings, because the city prepared 183 slides with details for each department, including goals and accomplishments. On the LAKE website is that presentation sent on request by City Clerk Teresa Bolden, and converted to HTML by LAKE. Plus the actual budget. No open records requests were required. Oh, and Valdosta runs garbage collection on a balanced budget without any exclusive franchises.

Valdosta News PR 20 June 2013, City Delivers a Balanced Budget: No property tax increase proposed for citizens,

The Valdosta City Council approved the fiscal year 2014 budget for the City of Valdosta at the June 20 City Council meeting, after having the opportunity to hear the proposed budget at the hearings on June 11 and 12. City staff presented the council with a balanced budget, as required by the City Charter, possibly one of the most challenging and difficult budgets prepared in years.

City leaders decreased the overall city budget from $86.2 million to $77.3 million, a result of Continue reading

Waste offer letter: take it or….

Unsigned trash letter from Lowndes County I received the appended unsigned letter from Lowndes County recently, which says the 5,000 residents of the unincorporated parts that currently use the county’s waste disposal sites can sign up with Advanced Disposal (of New York City) for curbside pickup or…. There is no or. So look forward to trash dumping long roadsides, in parking lots in town, and on your property. And neither outgoing County Chairman Ashley Paulk nor County Manager Joe Pritchard even had the courtesy to sign the letter.

After noting that back in June the county changed waste permit cards from 12 months to 6 months, the letter says:

At purchase, information was made available regarding possible future options for solid waste management in unincorporated Lowndes County.

So the county is backing off from claiming card buyers got a letter spelling out options. I got no such letter with card purchase.

This consideration became necessary due to revenue generated by the sale of the permit cards, not covering the cost of operating the centers.

And that’s all the accounting we get. Where is the summary of expenses for the centers compared to revenue? The VDT reported from the Commissioners’ stealth retreat back in April:

“In total, the county is currently spending $782,058.34 each year for solid waste disposal, a reduction from $1,176,207.75 in 2007.”

As I pointed out then, “So that’s a rapid reduction in cost to less than a third of what it used to be, and less than half of what it was only a year ago.” Later Joe Pritchard said those numbers didn’t include everything being spent. So what was actually being spent? We the taxpayers and we the card payers don’t know. After a long series of meetings to which the public was either not invited at all or was not invited to provide input, at its last meeting of the year (exactly as I predicted), Commissioners approved changes to the solid waste ordinance eliminating the collection sites and granted a monopoly to Advanced Disposal Services of New York City.

Former Chairman Ashley Paulk recently complained Moody AFB had become “privatized”. Yet at his last Commission meeting he presided over privatizing the county’s public service of solid waste collection.

Three new Commissioners were just sworn in yesterday, including a new chair. The new Commission in the new year is not, so far as I know, bound by the decisions of any previous Commission. It could undo the damage the old one just did. Or it could, like the old one, ignore concerns of public health, safety, and the environment that the state requires them to implement, plus concerns of local waste collection businesses, of local residents about recycling and about the lack of any other option than curbside; will the new Commission continue to kick 5,000 county residents towards curbside collection or tossing their trash in the your yard?

Unsigned trash letter from Lowndes County:

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Shadowy LOST talks tomorrow morning among all the local elected governments @ LOST 2012 04 09

It’s great that the local cities and the county government think they can negotiate how to share Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) money this time without spending a lot of money suing each other like they did back in 2002. It’s not so great that they’re doing it at an unannounced time and place.

Kay Harris wrote Saturday in the VDT, LOST talks set to begin: County, cities to meet Monday,

As required by state law, Lowndes County issued a letter to the mayors of all the municipalities in the county, requesting they attend a renegotiation meeting Monday, April 9 to discuss LOST (local option sales tax) distributions.

“This has to be done and approved by the end of the year in order to stay in place, so we have to start the process now,” said Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk.

Well, that’s interesting. When is this meeting? Ah, the time of day wasn’t included in the article.

There’s a clue in David Rodock’s 31 March 2012 writeup about the Commission retreat, Continue reading

SGMC Hospital Bonds go for sale this week

The bonds the Lowndes County Commission is guaranteeing for South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) are up for public auction this week.

According to the NYTimes yesterday, Treasury Auctions Set for This Week

The following tax-exempt fixed-income issues are scheduled for pricing this week:


Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County, Ga., $148.5 million of revenue anticipation certificates. Morgan Keegan


Double Lowndes County Commission tonight: Work 4:30 PM Regular 5:30 PM

Alcohol, rezoning, hospital, debt, and an election! Because Tuesday is Election Day, the Lowndes County Commission changed its regular meeting to Monday. Work sessions are usually Monday in the morning; today the Work Session is at 4:30 PM, just before the Regular Session at 5:30 PM. It’s a busy agenda, including two alcohol licenses, two rezonings, and an appointment to the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County (VLCHA); that’s the body that authorized South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) buying Smith Northview Hospital, after which SGMC got the County Commission to have we the taxpayers guarantee $100 million in bonds for expansion. Hm, and “SGMC Revenue Certificates” is on this agenda, too.

Here’s the agenda:

327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
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Millage and Budget

What will Lowndes County do with that millage it’s going to adopt Tuesday? That would be in the budget.

Maybe they think they sufficiently discussed that at the budget hearing where no citizen questions were entertained. About the budget they refused to post online until after they approved it.

So, did they post it by that Friday, 1 July 2011, as County Manager Joe Pritchard promised? Continue reading

LCC: work session cancelled, regular meeting Tuesday 26 July 2011

County to adopt tax millage Tuesday; cancels work session about that. See next post for more. Now: the agenda for Tuesday.

According to lowndescounty.com, the Monday morning work session is cancelled,

“Due to the lack of items on the agenda that require additional information”
but the Lowndes County Commission meets Tuesday evening as scheduled. The agenda does not contain the formerly tabled Nottinghill rezoning proposal for Cat Creek Road. Since rezonings are usually considered once a month (every other meeting), presumably the Commission will take that one back up in August.

The rest of the agenda is the shortest I’ve ever seen, so unless lots of citizens sign up to be heard, don’t blink or you’ll miss Tuesday’s meeting.

REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2011, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
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Sprawl to ruin, or dense with green space for quality of life

Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural & Applied Economics, The University of Georgia:
Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.
See The Economics of Growth, Sprawl and Land Use Decisions.
  • Green spaces increase property values of surrounding land
  • Green and open spaces can provide environmental amenities for free
  • If green spaces contribute to quality of life, you attract people and jobs to community
Note and jobs, not just people: jobs so the people can work and afford the houses they live in.

But this doesn’t mean exurban subdivisions with big yards: Continue reading