Tag Archives: Scottie Orenstein

Videos: Seven minutes for three appointments, one subdivision streets, and alcohol, plus long County Manager Reports @ LCC 2022-05-10

Two weeks ago, the six-minute Reports took almost as long as the entire rest of the Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

[Appointments and Reports]
Appointments and Reports

Clay Griner did show up to vote on an item in his district, but Scottie Orenstein did not: 6.b. Adopt Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for Grove Pointe Phase V Sect 2. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall was also absent. Commissioners Joyce Evans and Mark Wisenbaker were present both at the Work Session and this Regular Session. Chairman Bill Slaughter was present.

County Manager Paige Dukes was also present, giving many Reports, assisted in a video about Griner Park at Webster and Ashley Street.

Commissioner Joyce Evans provided some amusment, Continue reading

Videos: Five minutes for three appointments, one subdivision streets, and alcohol @ LCC 2022-05-09

Update 2022-05-23: Regular Session Videos: Seven minutes for three appointments, one subdivision streets, and alcohol, plus long County Manager Reports @ LCC 2022-05-10.

In the five-minute Work Session yesterday morning, the few Commissioners who showed up breezed through everything with no discussion. Commissioners Scottie Orenstein and Clay Griner were absent, even though this is in their districts: 6.b. Adopt Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for Grove Pointe Phase V Sect 2. But of course it is expected that the Commission will approve that item this evening at 5:30 PM. County Manager Paige Dukes was also absent, in her case due to illness.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. There are no notes, because nothing happened worth commenting on. See also Continue reading

Videos: One Valdosta-Lowndes funding, Hayden Park rezoning @ LCC 2022-04-26

At their Regular Session, Chairman Bill Slaughter pulled 7.a. One Valdosta Lowndes Community-Wide Initiative up front on the Lowndes County Commission agenda, because at least one of the OVL VIPs had another meeting: One Valdosta-Lowndes Co-Chairs VSU President Dr. Richard Carvajal and Georgia Power’s Scott Purvis, as well as Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber President Christie Moore. At least one of them left immediately after the Commissioners approved $200,000 total over five years to the Chamber to support OVL.

The County’s audio feed in the back of the room was again not working, so audio is whatever the LAKE video camera could pick up.

[OVL, Hayden Park rezoning]
OVL, Hayden Park rezoning

Commissioners discussed the one rezoning, Continue reading

Videos: $9 Million Courthouse renovations, Subdivision at N. Valdosta Road & Val Del @ LCC 2022-04-25

Update 2022-05-02: One Valdosta-Lowndes funding, Hayden Park rezoning @ LCC 2022-04-26.

At the Lowndes County Commission Work Session this morning, by far the longest at six minutes: 7.i. Historic Lowndes County Courthouse Rehabilitation Project GMP.

[Courthouse, Hayden Park, OVL, TEqBID]
Courthouse, Hayden Park, OVL, TEqBID

Second longest at four minutes was the back-again contentious 6.a. REZ-2022-07 Hayden Park, ~149 acres, from R-1 to C-G, P-D, and R-10.

Third at two minutes was the $200,000 to 7.a. One Valdosta Lowndes Community-Wide Initiative, presumably mostly for hiring an Executive Director, though one hopes also some funding towards projects like the Troupville River Camp that was top of the list OVL presented to the County Commission back in November. Not clear whether the $200,000 is per year or for the entire five-year project. Vice-Chair Scottie Orenstein said VSU President Dr. Carvajal and Georgia Power’s Scott Purvis will be present at the Regular Session tomorrow evening. Nothing was said about the Chamber, to whom OVL is being handed, being present tomorrow evening.

Commissioner Scottie Orenstein chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman Bill Slaughter. If the Chairman is back at tomorrow evening’s Regular Session, let’s hope Commissioner Orenstein recuses himself on the appointment of his wife to 5.a. Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Board. This morning Commissioner Orenstein appeared to speak for the developer on 6.a. REZ-2022-07 Hayden Park, ~149 acres, from R-1 to C-G, P-D, and R-10. Meanwhile, answering a question from Commissioner Demarcus Marshall, Orenstein said nobody had met with the opposition.

Below are Continue reading

Videos: Stealth Commission district reapportionment and half million dollar developer giveaway @ LCC 2022-01-25

As expected, the Lowndes County Commission at its Regular Session passed the half million dollar bailout for a developer.

Not expected, they changed the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to approve new Commission district maps and a resolution supporting them, for immediate transmission to the state.

One citizen wishing to be heard spoke about the never ending noise from the 15 month old Arglass factory.

[Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts]
Amendment, Commissioners, New Districts

Developer Bailout

For 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC County Manager Paige Dukes said staff acted at the direction of the Commissioners, seeming to distance herself and staff from this action.

Reapportionment

I’m guessing the added agenda item was 5.l..

Vice Chair Joyce Evans, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Chair Bill Slaughter, introduced the agenda change for district reapportionment indicating the Commissioners all already knew this was going to happen. 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: Many objections at Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting @ LCC Comp Plan 2021-09-28

Update 2021-11-08: Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing 2 @ LCC 2021-10-26.

All of the speakers at the Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting were opposed to moving the Suburban Area line farther north on the Character Area Map. They presented cogent reasons, such as they live up there and aren’t going to sell, there are already 750 lots available for sale while it took a decade for Nelson Hill’s 500 lots to sell, and the county should be looking out for its people and preserving much of the county for the next 50 years.

[Comprehensive Plan Update, Crowd, Lowndes County Character Areas, Map of those opposed to changing Character Areas]
Comprehensive Plan Update, Crowd, Lowndes County Character Areas, Map of those opposed to changing Character Areas

Most of the Commissioners acted like further development northwest in the county is a force of nature over which they have no control, and expressed more concern for developers and investors than for the room full of people in front of them or the 900 petition signatories opposed.

Here are links to each LAKE video of each speaker with copious notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. There was no agenda. The lowndescounty.com online calendar had only a title, Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting, date, time, and place, with no agenda. The draft minutes are sketchy, omitting key points such as the Dorfman report, but you can find that report below. Continue reading

Videos: Commissioner Comments, Mud Swamp Road, Fire Millage, Hightower Road, GEFA @ LCC 2021-08-24

Very unusual: two Commissioners commented at the end. Chairman Bill Slaughter had already been quite clear that the new fire department millage was to aid population growth in unincorporated parts of the county. Mark Wisenbaker thought the fire department millage was premature because it did not consider land with no structures, agricultural land, etc. He was the only Commissioner to vote against 5.l. Adoption of Unincorporated Fire Millage. Clay Griner thought it was something they could improve as they go along.

None of them mentioned that the fire millage applies to personal property as well as to real estate (land). At least one of the Commissioners was unaware of this, and, since none of them ever seem to have mentioned it to the public, I’d bet the public is unaware unless they carefully examined their property tax statements. Applying that fire millage also to personal property is apparently how they kept it as low as they announced in the millage rate hearing. Nevermind such a personal property millage falls heaviest on companies with the most personal property, which would likely be Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), commonly known as the paper mill at Clyattville. It’s not clear that companies with much personal property are the most in need of new fire services.

[Hightower Road, Fire Millage, Mud Swamp Road, Commissioner Comments]
Hightower Road, Fire Millage, Mud Swamp Road, Commissioner Comments

The County’s support of unincorporated growth apparently includes building next to wetlands, or in areas the Army Corps of Engineers recently declared not to be wetlands, since that had just been discussed by County Manager Paige Dukes and the Chairman.

I have an idea! How about build only close in to existing services, instead of sprawling farther out, where no taxes will ever pay enough for sending school buses, Sheriff, and Fire. See this report the County commissioned: The Local Government Fiscal Impacts of Land Use in Lowndes County: Revenue and Expenditure Streams by Land Use Category, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Ph.D., Dorfman Consulting, December 2007. As Dr. Dorfman summarized in a different presentation,

Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as
sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.

sprawl Trees and crops don’t call the Sheriff or the Fire Department much and don’t need school buses, but subdivisions do, so forestry and agriculture are far more cost-effective in tax collection vs. services.

Everything except the Fire Dept. millage passed unanimously. Even the late-added mystery-location 5.j. Proposed Sale of County Real Property to Industrial Authority, which came with no map, no street address, and no parcel numbers.

Here are LAKE videos of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the Continue reading

Tax Assessors appointed, sworn in, Lowndes County, Georgia 2020-01-05

After many years of rising sentiment, the voters in November 2019, approved changing Lowndes County from being one of only two of 159 Georgia counties that elected its Tax Assessors to appointing them, and the legislature agreed. Finally in September 2020 the Lowndes County Commission appointed three new Assessors, and on January 5, 2021, they were sworn in. Their first official meeting is tomorrow.

[Vote, Swearing, Judge, Assessors]
Vote, Swearing, Judge, Assessors

Applying for the Board of Tax Assessors according to the agenda for the 21 September, 2020, Work Session and the Tuesday, 22 September Regular Session were Mr. Gene Felts and Mrs. Gretchen Quarterman. The Tuesday voting was a bit more complicated. Continue reading

Pritchard hands over to Dukes as Lowndes County Manager @ LCC 2020-07-14

On August 1, 2020, Paige Dukes will be the new County Manager, after the 20-year reign of Joe Pritchard.

Paige Dukes, County Clerk, 2011-10-13
Paige Dukes, County Clerk, Lunch and Learn, 2011-10-13

Chris Herbert, Valdosta Daily Times, 14 July 2020, Dukes named Lowndes County Manager,

The vote was a split decision, 3-2, with commissioners Joyce Evans, Clay Griner and Scottie Orenstein voting in favor. Demarcus Marshall and Mark Wisenbaker opposed.

Marshall said his no vote was because he wanted to see the position advertised to open the pool up to other candidates.

“I would expect no less than to have this position advertised,” Marshall said. “To advertise it is saying, ‘we’re not just the good ole boys system or good ole girls system.'”

Wisenbaker said he wanted to see a “fresh” perspective from county leadership and hoped a broader search could provide some new outlooks for the county’s future.

“I voted no because I think the citizens of Lowndes County need to be better represented. We need to advertise this job…There’s nothing personal against Ms. Dukes. She’s been here a while. She does a good job. It’s just being able to look out there and see what we may be missing,” he said. “We got a $120 million budget. That’s not small and we need the right people and the right person to carry this on. And we need fresh ideas. We need a fresh person, in my opinion, that can bring new things to the table.”

Those two were in the minority, however, and the three in support said they are certain Dukes is the right decision.

“I’ve been on this board for six years, and Continue reading