Tag Archives: TIA

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

Outgrant: Moody AFB Hightower Road easement to Lowndes County @ LCC 2021-08-23

Another LAKE open records request yielded the missing Exhibits for Approval of Easement Documents for Hightower Road in the agenda for the August 23 and 24 Lowndes County Commission meetings:

Exhibit A – Description of Premises
Exhibit B – Map of Premises
Exhibit C – Physical Condition Report
Exhibit D – Environmental Baseline Survey

The entire document with the Exhibits is now on the LAKE website: Instrument Number: USAF-ACC-QSEU-21-2-0318: DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE GRANT OF EASEMENT FOR LOWNDES COUNTY, GEORGIA ON MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA, SAF/GCN 7 July 2021 Approved B. Hood.

[Exhibit B: Map of Premises]
Exhibit B: Map of Premises

There’s good news at the end of Exhibit D: Continue reading

Videos: Potential litigation, Millage, Hightower Road, Bellsouth, Val Del Estates, 911, Alapaha Plantation, Manhole Emergency, Private Roads, Alcohol * 2 @ LCC Work 2021-08-23

The Lowndes County Commission votes tonight at 5:30 PM, after minimal discussion yesterday morning.

At the end of yesterday morning’s Work Session, County Manager Paige Dukes asked for an Executive Session to discuss pending litigation, plus a bigger than usual room to meet in, due to wanting many department heads there.

Earlier, Chairman Bill Slaughter asked to add an agenda item for sale of real property to the Industrial Authority. There was no discussion of this item, simply the addition of the item to the agenda for the voting session. Apparently all the commissioners know all about this from some executive session. The public knows nothing.

Also, Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker asked to move the two millage adoption items to the end of the agenda for tonight.

The only thing they spent more than two minutes on was 5.h. Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center. 5.h. Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and the board packet.

Millage, Hightower Road, Bellsouth, Val Del Estates, 911, Alapaha Plantation, Manhole Emergency, Private Roads, Alcohol * 2 @ LCC 2021-08-23, GA-EPD

Three million dollars for discussion this morning and voting tomorrow evening at the Lowndes County Commission, including an emergency manhole repair, 911 consoles, and roads north of Moody AFB.

Plus more expenses will come from accepting two subdivision roads plus two dirt roads as county roads. And the never-ending Lake Alapaha subdivision water treatment plant, which has attracted a GA-EPD Consent Order.

The County will be reducing the overall millage rate, while adding the the unincorporated fire millage.

Cost What
$2,775,068.91TIA-03 Hightower Road and Cooper Road NE
$162,308.45Whitewater Road Manhole Emergency Repair
$155,697.00Adding Dispatch Consoles 11 and 12 for the 911 Center
$2,520.00Approval of Lease Amendment Number Three to Bellsouth Telecommunications, LLC
$3,095,594.36Total

[Alcohol, Subdivision, Communications]
Alcohol, Subdivision, Communications

Here is the agenda. The board packet, received in response to a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-23–lcc-packet

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Roads, Water, and Taxes @ LCC 2021-02-22

Four million dollars in tax money discussed this morning, to be voted on at 5:30 PM tomorrow (Tuesday) by the Lowndes County Commission.

[Table: Four Million Dollars]
Table: Four Million Dollars

Yet their video cameras seem to be broken and I haven’t seen anything about paying to fix them or buy new ones. Meanwhile, Valdosta City Council started online through an iphone, and numerous other counties in Georgia and Florida have made their meetings accessible online.

Cost What
$1,974,139.00Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Loan Application for the Lake Park Bellville Road Widening Project
$1,875,000.00 Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Loan Application for Lift Station & Manhole Rehab Project
$219,000.00Approve Purchase of West Savannah Avenue and Briggs Street Properties
$168,880.00Purchase of Wetland and Stream Credits for Old US 41 North Widening Project
$59,500.00Contract with Condrey and Associates, Inc.
$34,024.64Request for the Purchase of Motorola Radios for Public Works
$19,167.00 Approval of the Solicitor General’s VAWA Competitive Grant Award
$10,195.00Approval of Hightower Road and Cooper Road Right of Way Purchases
$6,000.00GMASS Rural Land Maintenance Contract
$339.00Just Compensation – Right of Way Parcel 10 Hightower Road and Cooper Road, TSPLOST Project
$4,366,244.64Total

We don’t know where are the lift stations or manholes to be financed through a GEFA loan for $1,875,000, but I’d say that’s a good use of funds. Not so sure about the $1,974,139 for relocating utilities for widening Lake Park Bellville Road, because I’m not clear on why that road needs widening. I do wonder why sewer and drinking water improvements have to be funded through loans while road building gets tax funds.

Here is the agenda. The board packet is on the LAKE website, received Friday in response to a LAKE Open Records request.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Video: New County Planner, Juvenile Justice, TIA Old US 41, Two Oaks at Bemiss, Hazard Mitigation @ LCC 2020-05-12

Video has appeared on lowndescounty.com of the May 12, 2020 Regular Session, and the minutes. It is 11:48 long, of which 10:48 was actual business. The video reveals there is a new County Planner, J.D. Dillard. We also learn from the video (but not from the minutes) the extent of the Old US 41 widening.

Lowndes County Commission Regular Session 2020-05-12

Below are a few notes with timestamp links into the county’s video. See also the agenda and the board packet. Here again is what they said they spent:

CostWhat
$330,854CJCC Funding FY 2021 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Application Regular Session DATE OF MEETING: May 12, 2020
$20,000.00FEMA Lowndes County Hazard Mitigation Request for Proposal Regular Session DATE OF MEETING: May 12, 2020
$350,854Total

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, May 12, 2020, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
*To comply with the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in regard to the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic and social distancing, face coverings (masks) are required for all meeting participants.

  1. Call to Order

    At 0 minutes. Chairman and all five Commissioners were present and sitting up front. Staff, including the County Manager, were sitting in the audience, where they could hardly be heard when they spoke. Portable microphones would be useful for this arrangement. Continue reading

Packet: Juvenile Justice, TIA Old US 41, Two Oaks at Bemiss, Hazard Mitigation @ LCC 2020-05-12

Update 2020-06-05: Lowndes County video has appeared, revealing several things not in the minutes.

LAKE did not video the May 12, 2020, Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, due to pandemic. There was no telephone dial-in and no facebook live. The last Lowndes County Commission video of its own meeting was February 25, 2020. So the only record will be the Minutes, which we may or may not see before their next meeting, which is this Tuesday.

We get a location map but no indication of future county tax-paid costs of upkeep for the infrastructure for Two Oaks at Bemiss.

[Location Map]
Location Map

Yet we get evaluations by three different people of three proposals for the Lowndes County Hazard Mitigation RFP; winning bid $20,000.

The packet contains only the agenda sheet and a signature page for a resolution for the GDOT TIA Old US 41 Widening; the actual Resolution is missing. Continue reading

Juvenile Justice, TIA Old US 41, Two Oaks at Bemiss, Hazard Mitigation @ LCC 2020-05-12

Update 2020-06-05: Lowndes County video has appeared, revealing several things not in the minutes.

Update 2020-05-23: Packet: Juvenile Justice, TIA Old US 41, Two Oaks at Bemiss, Hazard Mitigation @ LCC 2020-05-12. There are no videos.

The lightest agenda for Tuesday’s Lowndes County Commission Regular Session that I’ve seen in a while will be voted on Tuesday in the Commission Chambers with masks. No teleconference. Presumably the County will be videoing and putting that on YouTube, as they usually do with Regular Sessions. There is no Work Session.

Also less expensive than most Commission meetings:

CostWhat
$330,854CJCC Funding FY 2021 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Application Regular Session DATE OF MEETING: May 12, 2020
$20,000.00FEMA Lowndes County Hazard Mitigation Request for Proposal Regular Session DATE OF MEETING: May 12, 2020
$350,854Total

Even on the least expensive item this time, Lowndes County Hazard Mitigation Request for Proposal, “Lowndes County recently requested pricing proposals from qualified contractors…” The RFP is on the county’s website.

Unlike the more expensive stream monitoring project of last month’s meeting, for which there was no RFP and no bids.

This item has no cost cited, but will cost the taxpayers for road maintenance in the future: Adopt Resolution accepting Infrastructure for Two Oaks at Bemiss.

[Case Point (Two Oaks at Bemiss)]
Case Point (Two Oaks at Bemiss)
Map: Lowndes County Tax Assessors

All the agenda sheet says for where is “located on Case Point, off Old Pine Road.” I’m guessing that includes Continue reading

Videos: Taxes, water, sewer, LAS, paving, road abandonment @ LCC 2019-03-12

Five minutes and 46 seconds Sixteen minutes to vote on the people’s business in the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session. Where do they actually discuss things?

By far the longest item at three minutes and fourteen seconds was 5a. REZ-2019-04 Southeastern Freight 2120 West Hill Ave., C-H/R-1 To M-2,, and that only because somebody spoke in favor of the request in the Public Hearing.

Second longest at one minute and 46 seconds was the controversial 7 a. North Lowndes Spring Creek Utility Inter-connection Project Phase II, for which they made a decision about the yellow paper. They still never said who the rest of the bidders were, nor how much they bid, on this $3,889,825.23 project.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with Continue reading

Videos: Taxes, water, sewer, LAS, paving, road abandonment @ LCC 2019-03-11

They don’t have any wheelchair seating areas, so Jody Hall planted his wheels in front of the front row, to see the county not tell the public who bid what on an almost $4 million item.

By far the longest item at almost seven minutes was North Lowndes Spring Creek Utility Inter-connection Project Phase II, because one bidder objected that the others did not use the correct color paper. They never said who any of the bidders were, nor how much they bid, on this $3,889,825.23 project.

The third longest was 6.f. Water and Sewer Service Areas – Lake Park Area, as the county continues its plan to encircle Valdosta. Yet the county has no plan for additional sewage treatment beyond the Land Application Site (LAS), where Lowndes County sprays sewage onto land near Grassy Pond, close to the state line, and where they’re reducing the Row Crop Lease Agreement by 71 acres for unexplained reasons.

Second longest was Continue reading