Tag Archives: SPLOST

Valdosta Chamber Candidate Forum 2019-10-08

Meet the Candidates 2019, organized by the Valdosta Lowndes Chamber of Commerce: no questions from the audience, but Gretchen Quarterman videoed for LAKE the few minutes each candidate for Valdosta Mayor, City Council, or Valdosta Board of Education held forth. Plus seven minutes about SPLOST, the Special Local Option Sales Tax, the only thing voters in the unincorporated parts of Lowndes County get to vote on this election season.

Mike Gudley talks about the SPLOST referendum

Below are links to each LAKE video Gretchen took, followed by a LAKE video playlist.

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Valdosta City Council Town Hall 2019-09-30

Most people missed a chance to ask whatever they wanted of the Valdosta City Council, without time limits or fear of ejection from the room. This town hall, hosted by Council members Andy Gibbs and Eric Howard, apparently was not announced on Valdosta’s own website nor in the Valdosta Daily Times. But Gretchen Quarterman was there for LAKE and videoed it, and provided the notes below. The few people who did attend were interested enough to take an hour and a half of their time to participate in the community and local government.


      People are sometimes afraid to speak

George Boston Rhynes noted that people might fear even coming to this kind of meeting, because of fear of retaliation, by being blackballed for jobs, or in other ways.

Lowndes County Commissioner Scottie Orenstein was there, and occasionally answered, as did Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll. City Council Sonny Vickers was also there.

Sidewalks were a major topic. Gretchen wondered why every street doesn’t have one. Instead, the city thinks it will improve traffic on Bemiss Road by making it wider.

Naturally, Taxes in County and City and property values were a major topic. Valdosta City Council Sandra Tooley said she thought sidewalks make property values go up, so why should the county get any of that tax money when the city paid to put the sidewalks in? Others misunderstood that, and more discussion ensued. People remain confused about how SPLOST works between city and county.

Back on transportation, a final speaker spelled out how Valdosta is not bicycle-friendly, so children can’t ride bicycles to school, students to VSU, employees to work, or people to see friends, because it is not safe. Same for Lowndes County: not safe for this healthy, family-friendly activity and transportation method. Andy Gibbs said this is one of the topics being gathered into the Parks and Rec. Master Plan, currently in progress.

Below are links to each LAKE video, followed by a LAKE video playlist. Continue reading

Lowndes County Budget Meetings 2019-05-07-09 @ LCC 2017-05-07

Lowndes County is holding its Budget Meetings this week. Typically Commissioners and staff hear from all departments, agencies, and Authorities that get tax funds collected by the county.

When: 8:30 AM – 4:15 PM Tuesday, May 7, 2019
8:30 AM – 2:15 PM Wednesday, May 8, 2019
8:30 AM – 2:45 PM Thursday, May 9, 2019

Where: Commission Chambers,
327 N. Ashley Street 2nd Floor,
Valdosta, GA 31601

All three Lowndes County calendar posts note:

Meetings could potentially run longer than the scheduled times.

I would guess one topic that will come up will be the remaining projects in SPLOST VII.

SPLOST VII pie chart

As usual, Continue reading

Videos: Naylor Boat Ramp, approval limits, CALEA, personal care home @ LCC 2018-09-10

News about the Naylor Boat Ramp in an Engineering Projects Report! Chad McLeod also reported about the 911 center, the North Lowndes Soccer Complex, the fire warehouse classroom, the animal shelter, and the courthouse renovation project, all still to be completed from SPLOST VII funds, which run out next year. Even with that three-and-a-half-minute special engineering report, the whole meeting took ten minutes Monday morning.

Also not on the agenda, HR has a new employee. Also there will be a new traffic signal.

Should the County Manager and the Finance Director be able to approve Continue reading

Videos: Day 1, Planning, Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2018-02-19

The 2018 Lowndes County Commission Retreat was just about the exact opposite of a commission meeting, except that same group of people are present (almost). There was discussion, disagreement, laughing, sighing, interrupting, listening, inside jokes, outside jokes, and general exchange of views. Those things don’t happen in a commission meeting. This year’s retreat was particularly different because there was no time frame attached to any agenda item and they didn’t discuss topics in exact order, and some topics got covered repeatedly. Commissioner Evans said to me during a break that the previous format of having departments just give a report can “get boring” and she had suggested that they have a different format with more discussion about communications.

The agenda was available on-line but was hard to find and the link I followed to find it is gone now. I did manage to download it before it went away. Find it here: 2018 LCC Annual Planning Meeting Agenda (plus searchable text). There were paper copies available at the meeting after the first break.

I sometimes think that the commissioners may be getting used to me but then, no, don’t be silly.

At the lunch hour, the Commissioners stepped outside to take a group picture and as County Clerk Page Dukes suggested that they get closer and not have so much “space” between them, Commissioners Orenstein and Griner (I live in their districts) huddled together.

Commissioners Gather Group Photo Close Group Photo
  Commissioners Orenstein and Griner

Below are links to each LAKE video, with a few notes followed by a LAKE video playlist. Continue reading

Larry Hanson retiring as Valdosta City Manager

Congratulations, Larry Hanson.

Valdosta, PR, 1 November 2017, City Manager Larry Hanson Retires From Valdosta with Exceptional 42-Year Career: Hanson has been named the Georgia Municipal Association Executive Director

Larry Hanson will retire from the City of Valdosta, effective Dec. 8 after 42 years of public service, 22 of which he served as the Valdosta City Manager. Hanson will assume his new role as the Georgia Municipal Association Executive Director, where he will oversee the advocacy, training and various programs for more than 500 Georgia cities.

Hanson is the 10th and longest-serving city manager for the City of Valdosta, where he oversees Continue reading

Videos: Planning Meeting, Lowndes County Commission @ LCC 2016-02-04

Suing local businesses helps run up fees to the county attorney, says County Manager Joe Pritchard. He didn’t mention that continuing to promote sprawl for example through the county’s thoroughfare plan also runs up fees that property taxes will never meet. Commissioners seemed very concerned about “stakeholders” whom they said were “the development community, the real estate community” and “the construction and homebuilder industries”. Maybe somewhere they mentioned the agricultural and forestry industries, or sales tax payers even if they don’t own real estate; if so I missed it. At least they’re thinking about the Comprehensive Plan and the general direction of the county in a public forum. And the County Planner did talk about quality of life. Plus it seems business prospects bringing that up got the attention of the County Manager. They said they have a responsiblity to set the direction of the county. How about instead of continuing to drive sprawl outwards, which is a fiscally (and environmentally) irresponsible path, turn to directing development to be more dense in already-developed areas? They continue this morning at 8:30 AM, and Gretchen is there again with the LAKE video camera.

Here’s the agenda followed by links to each LAKE video with a few notes. See also two previous pictures.

We are looking forward to the improved communication that was touted in the VDT headline. Jason Stewart, VDT, 4 February 2016, Slaughter wants to strengthen communication, Continue reading

Videos: Surprise boat landing, MAZ, WWTP, tax lighting, civic center, court, insurance, hazardous waste @ LCC 2015-12-08

County Manager Joe Pritchard asked the Lowndes County Commission to spend the funds the citizens of Lowndes County approved on the SPLOST VII referendum for the Naylor Boat Ramp:

Motion by Commissioner Demarcus Marshall We are proposing for the purchase of 4.35 acres of property on the Alapaha River designated for the purpose of a boat ramp. You have the documentation there before you, the warranty deed. And as you are aware, this also reserves for an easement by the current owner, a proposed easement, and the appraisal is for $24,000, as is the purchase price, and that is the consideration for the proposed easement.

Commissioner Scottie Orenstein asked: Continue reading

Videos: Garbage falling off trucks @ LCC 2014-03-25

If the County Commission hadn’t privatized garbage collection, Frenchie could have registered his complaint about garbage falling off trucks through the new turnkey government website service once it’s online. No mention of the annexation request by the City of Hahira from the Work Session.

Commissioner Powell noted the three SPLOST VII projects were “a direct reinvestment into the community of those funds”. The road resurfacing of four roads is actually mostly from a GDOT LMIG grant, but the other three, shoulder paving on Val Del Road and Boring Pond Road and a bridge replacement on Cat Creek Road are all from SPLOST VII funds. Plus some trucks for Animal Control and tablets for the Fire Department, an alcohol license, and some alphabet-soup agreements, one of which turned out to be for a grant for a victim advocate position in the Solicitor General’s office.

Here’s the agenda. See also the previous morning’s Work Session.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street — 2nd Floor
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Videos: Mostly Paving and Bridges @ LCC 2014-03-24

Yesterday morning they discussed a turnkey government website service. And an annexation request by the City of Hahira. And they may actually be serious about coming into the 21st century with online county services.

Turns out the road resurfacing of four roads is actually mostly from a GDOT LMIG grant, but the other three, shoulder paving on Val Del Road and Boring Pond Road and a bridge replacement on Cat Creek Road are all from SPLOST VII funds. Plus some trucks for Animal Control and tablets for the Fire Department, an alcohol license, and some alphabet-soup agreements, one of which turned out to be for a grant for a victim advocate position in the Solicitor General’s office.

Here’s the agenda.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street — 2nd Floor
Continue reading