Tag Archives: ROW

Packet: Stream monitoring, trash franchises, wetlands credits, force main, quit claims, paving, and Accountability Court @ LCC 2020-04-28

Apparently there was no legal public notice and no recording of the April teleconference meeting with the dial-in code changed less than three hours before, with $6,913,575.06 in taxpayers’ money being decided.

[Photo: Pine Grove Road Collection Center]
Photo: Pine Grove Road Collection Center

For that Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, at which everything was approved unanimously except the one split vote on the single-source no-bid stream monitoring contract, LAKE sent an open records request for “the teleconference audio recording and the log of teleconference attendees (who dialed in, by name, or, if name is not known, by telephone number) for the April 28, 2020, Lowndes County Commission Regular Session.”

The response from the County Clerk was:

The April 28th telephone meeting was not recorded other than the minutes that were taken. Further, the program used does not record a phone log for the option utilized for this meeting. This being case, there are no records responsive to your request. I do expect the next meeting to be held in the Commission Chambers with social distancing requirements observed. This being the case, citizens will have an opportunity to attend in person which is a much better format for everyone.

Well, that’s a matter of opinion. Do you think it’s better to have to wear a mask to the Commission Chambers and risk getting infected, than to listen on the phone?

The Valdosta City Council had their meeting this Thursday on facebook live. The Madison, Florida, BOCC has been doing theirs on gotomeeting. It’s curious how the most populous county in the region can’t manage a teleconference or video meeting.

LAKE received the full board packet two days after the meeting, at 5:07 PM on Thursday, April 30, 2020, in response to an open records request. It’s on the LAKE website. We look forward to Lowndes County putting its full packet on its website along with the agenda and one-page agenda sheets per item. Many other counties in Georgia and Florida have been doing this for years.

When will the Lowndes County Commission catch up with the 21st century?

April-28-2020-Commission-Meeting-Packet

By far the biggest item was the $6,545,729.00 Coleman Road Force Main Replacement. The county apparently saved a bunch of money by removing many amounts from the bid for the county to do directly.

[Amount Removed from Bid]
Amount Removed from Bid

Curious how they didn’t do that for the sole-source no-bid $45,120.00 Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring and Reporting of Impaired Streams. More on that in another blog post.

The county bid everything else that could be bid, including the $228,400.95 Continue reading

Teleconference: Stream monitoring, trash franchises, wetlands credits, force main, quit claims, paving, and Accountability Court @ LCC 2020-04-28

Update 2020-05-10:

Update 2020-05-09: Board packet.

Update 2020-05-02: Gretchen’s notes on each agenda item.

Was this even a public meeting? The Lowndes County Commission approved everything on its agenda yesterday, even though only really perceptive citizens could figure out how to listen to the teleconference. In which they approved everything, with only one split vote, for a $45,120.00 single-source item.

[Agenda Versions]
Agenda Versions

At 2:38 PM, less than three hours before the 5:30 PM voting Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, they made this one change to the online agenda:

Old:
“The call in number is 813-769-0500 and the access code is 373-829-614#”

New:
“The call in number is 813-769-0500 and the access code is 584-852-611#”

Can you spot the change? It’s the access code.

I didn’t notice the agenda had changed, so I used the old access code. Which only started a teleconference five minutes late, and then had 18+ minutes of silence.

Gretchen did notice the agenda had changed, but there was no indication of what had changed. She carefully looked to find that different access code. It’s a good bet Gretchen was the only citizen on the conference call, because likely few other people figured that out.

But that didn’t stop the Commissioners from approving everything on the agenda.

The only split vote was for: Continue reading

Trash franchises, Stream monitoring, wetlands credits, force main, quit claims, paving, and Accountability Court @ LCC 2020-04-28

Bids or negotiations for everything except the Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring, and Reporting of Impaired Streams, which is on the agenda for Tuesday as a single proposal from an engineering firm. The agenda sheets are on the LAKE website. We do not yet have the full agenda packet.

This April 28, 2020, Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission will be held by teleconference. There will be Citizens Wishing to Be Heard, but as usual that will be after the Commissioners vote. This is the only County Commission of the many counties I’ve been to in two states that does not let citizens speak either at the beginning of the session or on each agenda item as it comes up.

Citizens wishing to be heard should email County Clerk, Paige Dukes at pdukes@lowndescounty.com or call 229-292-6142 during normal business hours to register to speak. Please register prior to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28th. Thank you.

Notice no Work Session is listed on the agenda, and a Commissioner tells me there will be no Work Session, which is marked in the county calendar as Cancelled.

[Map: Coleman Road, VALORGIS]
Map: Coleman Road, VALORGIS

These are the costs of the agenda items, sorted most expensive first:

Continue reading
CostWhat
$6,545,729.00 5.h. Coleman Road Force Main Replacement
$228,400.95 6.a. LMIG Resurfacing Contract
$48,079.00 5.f. Approval of Clyattstone Road-Simpson Lane ROW Purchases
$45,120.00 5.c. Professional Services for Sampling, Monitoring and Reporting of Impaired Streams
$26,246.11 5.i. Lowndes County Accountability Court Grant Approval and Cash Match
$20,000.00 5.e. Purchase of Wetland Credits for Clyattstone Road – Simpson Lane Paving Project

Notes: Special Called Meeting @ LCC 2020-04-16

Twelve minutes for their first-ever dial-in Lowndes County Commission meeting.

That’s longer than many of their in-person meetings, maybe because the Chairman had the Clerk call roll for the Commissioners for each vote. Both votes were unanimous with no discussion. Nobody explained why these items were important enough for a Special Called Meeting.

[Only two items]
Only two items

Before the meeting, in the room they had already Continue reading

Dialin to Special Called Meeting, Lowndes County Commission 2020-04-16 @ LCC 2020-04-16

Update 2020-04-16: LAKE Notes taken during the conference call.

Something good out of a pandemic: the first-ever telephone listen-in for a Lowndes County Commission meeting.

[With dialin instructions]
With dialin instructions

I assume listen-in because there is no Citizens To Be Heard on the agenda. While Madison County, Florida, BOCC, weeks ago had a participatory conference call meeting, I can’t imagine Lowndes County Commission doing that.

The only agenda items are how to spend the Hotel/Motel Tax (assuming there is any) for Tourism, and paying for right of way (ROW) for one parcel so TSPLOST paving of Clyattstone Road and Simpson Lane can continue. I don’t know why that one paving project is so important.

Special Called Meeting
April 16, 2020, 9:30 AM
@ In an effort to respect social distancing, a conference call line has been set up for this meeting. The call in number 813-769-0500 and the access code is 373-829-614#

There are only two items being addressed due to them needing immediate attention.

More Details

That “More Details” link goes to a page that has exactly the same information.

Agenda

However, unlike most Special Called Meetings, for this one they did post an agenda. We don’t know whether they will video the meeting. That would be good, since LAKE can’t go into the building to do that. See also Continue reading