Tag Archives: tax

Unannounced special session on budget and litter @ LCC 2019-05-29

The Lowndes County Commission said there will be a public hearing on their proposed $108 million budget at 5PM, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 (today). That public hearing is on the county’s online calendar. They also said the budget included a new trash collection division, and they were considering using that to replace Keep Lowndes-Valdosta Beautiful (KLVB).

But the meeting at which that Tuesday Budget Public Hearing was announced, which was some time Wednesday afternoon, May 29, 2019, is nowhere on lowndescounty.com that I can find, not in the calendar, news, or agendas, and they said nothing about it the previous day in their Work Session and Regular Session, both on that Tuesday. Also, I received no notification of the Wednesday meeting, even though I’m signed up for such things. We only know of it because of Continue reading

Videos: Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) Meeting: Lowndes County and cities @ SDS 2019-02-04

The longest topic was water and wastewater, when elected officials from Lowndes County and its cities, Valdosta, Lake Park, Dasher, and Hahira (but apparently not Remerton), gathered on neutral ground to discuss tax revenue allocation, in a public meeting. Curiously, the Chairman and the Mayors were not invited. It’s not clear whether omitting them helped or not. There was actually mention that growth close to existing services is better than sprawl.

Below are links to each WWALS video Gretchen took, with a few notes, followed by a WWALS video playlist. See also the meeting announcement.

Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) Meeting: Lowndes County and cities @ SDS 2019-02-04

Update 2019-03-04: WWALS videos.

At least some elected officials from at least Lowndes County and Valdosta will be gathering Monday on neutral ground to discuss tax revenue allocation. Apparently this is a public meeting which anyone can attend.

In its usual laconic manner, this is all the county says in its online calendar:

SDS Meeting

Date: February 4, 2019

Time: 5:00 PM

Location: Valdosta- Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority Offices

Address: 1901 North Forrest Street
Valdosta, GA 31601

Street View, Image
Google Street View, VLPRA, 1901 N. Forrest Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

A usually reliable source says this meeting is for voting Council and Commissioners, and the Mayor and Chairman were not invited. I don’t know if elected members of Council would only be from Valdosta, or also from Remerton, Lake Park, Hahira, and Dasher. If a quorum of any Council or Commissioners for any of these elected bodies is present, Georgia law requires it to be an open meeting which the public may attend. I can’t imagine the county would have posted it publicly if it wasn’t.

The offices of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA) are neutral ground, because Continue reading

Lowndes County rolled back millage @ LCC 2018-08-17

As Lowndes County Finance Director Stephanie Black always reminds everybody, of the total 8.814 county millage, 1 mil goes to the Development Authority, and 1.25 mils to Valdosta-Lowndes Parks and Recreational Authority. Here is a table from the PDF of her presentation slides.

Property Tax Example
City of Valdosta ResidentUnincorporated Resident
Property Value$200,000$200,000
Assessed Value (40%)$80,000$80,000
Homestead Exemption$(6,000)$(6,000)
Net Taxable Base$74,000$74,000
Tax Calculation:
Lowndes County — 8.814 PY 8.974$652$652
Development Authority — 1.00$74$74
Parks
& Recreation Authority — 1.25$93$93
Lowndes County Schools — 16.541 PY 16.839$1,224
City of Valdosta — 8.001 PY 8.001$592
Valdosta City Schools — 16.980 PY 16.980$1,257
Total Estimated Taxes$2,668$2,043

Since she made that table, Valdosta actually lowered its millage to 7.916, which in the above example would mean $50.32 less per year, for an example of how little difference these minor millage rollbacks or increases actually mean to taxpayers. The Valdosta Board of Education wants to increase its tax rate (but not its millage).

Last year the Lowndes County Commission voted on the millage during a Regular Session, Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

This year 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

Videos: Resolutions and Railroad crossing @ Hahira 2018-01-30

The Hahira City Council passed two resolutions at its February 1, 2018 Regular Session, one supporting GA HR 158 to stop state fee diversions, and another supporting the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. Two days before I spoke about both and there was discussion at the Hahira Work Session of January 30, 2018.

Another item from that Work Session has unfortunately become big news: possibly closing the Lawson Street railroad crossing, where a man was killed February 5 when a Norfolk Southern train struck a dump truck, according to WTXL. WALB says, “The Georgia State Patrol identified the driver as Dexter Brown, 48, of Barnwell, S.C.”. Mayor Bruce Cain gave a statement to Hahira Today, which also included some discussion of that agenda item: Continue reading

Resolutions against GA state fee diversions and for water trail @ Hahira 2018-01-30

Tonight, a resolution for Georgia HR 158 against state fee diversions, and another resolution supporting the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail, at the Hahira City Council Work Session (and Thursday on the Regular Session agenda). Also, Terry Benjamin will get sworn in again as Councilman, District 1, the food truck zoning ordinance is back, there’s a RR crossing closure request, and a Recommendation to Raise Hahira Depot Rental Fee from $400 to $500, among other items on the agenda.

Hahira City Council
January 30, 2018
Work Session Agenda
6:00 pm- Hahira Courthouse

  1. Call to order Continue reading

Videos: New Valdosta City Council members, resolution to stop state fee diversions @ VCC 2018-01-11

Sworn in: re-elected Sandra Tooley (District 2) and new members Eric Howard (District 4) and Andy Gibbs (District 6), plus Sandra Tooley again as new Mayor Pro Tem. The vote on Mayor Pro Tem split evenly with the Mayor voting, between Sandra Tooley and Tim Carroll, so they ended up having Judge Tunison draw one of the two names out of a box.

Employee of the month was Continue reading

Videos: Hurricane Irma, Register rezoning, Utility Authority @ LCC 2017-09-26

23 minutes last night to approve 3:2 with many conditions rezoning the 6c. REZ-2017-09 Robert A. Register Estate, with no shouting afterwards like there was at at the previous evening’s Planning Commission meeting, yet a lot of grumbling at the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, especially since they seem to have forgotten the greenspace condition.

Biggest crowd in a long time, REZ-2017-09 Robert A. Register Estate

I would like to commend the Commission for the amount and depth of discussion in this meeting, especially in the unscheduled 10. Commission Comments and Recognitions and Meeting Adjournment, which was mostly about Clay Griner’s idea of having a county-wide utility authority including all the cities in the county. Update 2017-10-20: moved the rest of this utility authority commentary down to the video item below.

Also not on the agenda was Chairman Slaughter comments on community response to Hurricane Irma (which were mostly about county staff; well-deserved especially for Ashley Tye) and Georgia Power Representative recognizes county hurricane response.

While it’s great that Georgia Power came to compliment the county, does that electric utility rep. reside in or pay property taxes in Lowndes County, and why was he not required to state his name and address? Ditto the software salesman for Continue reading

Videos: HEAT on Lake Park @ LCC 2017-09-25

Yesterday morning, most lengthhy at 6 minutes was 6c. REZ-2017-09 Robert A. Register Estate, followed at 2 minutes by 7 a. Amended Motorized Cart Ordinance.

Below are links to each LAKE video of the Work Session of 25 September 2017. See also the previous notes with the agenda. For the three rezoning cases, see also the LAKE videos of the Planning Commission meetings of 28 August 2017 and 25 September 2017.