Tag Archives: revenues

Sinkhole costs, and prevention vs. reaction

The day after the VDT ran Lowndes County’s admission that the sewer line break was theirs, not Valdosta’s, did the VDT start a series of financial investigation like they did about Valdosta’s water issues? Nope, they ran a piece about how much weather costs the county, with no recognition of watershed-wide issues, nor of any need for the county to participate in proactively dealing with them, to reduce costs, for better quality of life, to attract the kinds of businesses we claim we want. Nope, none of that.

Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT 27 April 2013, What natural events cost Lowndes taxpayers,

In the Deep South, near a river plain where floodwaters rise and ebb from season to season and wetlands that distinguish the region from anywhere else in the nation, flooding makes a significant portion of the concern for Lowndes County emergency management.

OK, that’s close to getting at some of the basic issues. We’re all in the same watershed, and we need to act like it instead of every developer and every local government clearcutting and paving as if water didn’t run downhill. Does the story talk about that? After all, the county chairman attended the 11 April 2013 watershed-wide flooding meeting that led to the city of Valdosta’s likely participation in flodoplain planning. Nope; according to the VDT, everybody around here seems to be hapless victims of weather:

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Retreat, Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2013-02-22

Clockwise: Stephanie Black (Finance), John Page (Dist. 5), Joyce Evans (Dist. 1), Demarcus Marshall (Dist. 4), Richard Raines (Dist. 2), Bill Slaughter (Chairman), Crawford Powell (Dist. 3), Paige Dukes (Clerk), Joe Pritchard (Manager) The Lowndes County Commission has retreated to Berrien County once again this year. So far they’ve talked about budgets and finance, LOST and SPLOST, departmental requests, and the local Land Bank Authority, with the occasional policy interjection. Commissioners and staff were clearly taking their tasks very seriously, although not without humor from John Page’s sneeze. And I congratulate them on going some place that couldn’t have cost much. I wish they’d talk more about policy and strategies for increasing the pie, rather than almost entirely about how to divvy up the existing pie. Video will follow; meanwhile here are a few notes.

On the one hand, it’s great that county staff have pulled together and managed with 30 fewer people, and while Commissioner Page was right that that’s efficiency, I think Chairman Slaughter was even more right in saying it’s beyond that, it’s beyond capacity. County Manager Joe Pritchard noted if there’s no SPLOST, the current Commission will have to decide between cutting some services and raising taxes. That’s no doubt true, and he indicated that Valdosta seemed to be waiting to hear what the County wants to do about SPLOST, while the county is waiting to hear what Valdosta wants to do. Several people remarked that the prior LOST negotiations (which are currently on judicial hold pending one participant returning from the current session of the state legislature) did affect SPLOST losing in the most recent election. I didn’t hear anybody suggest holding public hearings this time, but Commissioner Marshall did say it would be good to say what SPLOST funds would be for in some detail.

On the other hand, the Chairman asserted Continue reading