Tag Archives: Transportation

Budget, Bevel Creek Lift Station, Val Tech Road widening, Appointments: ZBOA, Library, VLPRA, Construction @ LCC 2020-06-22

The big item on the Lowndes County Commission agenda for Monday to vote on Tuesday evening is the Adoption of Fiscal Year 2021 Budget totaling $59,443,920, with $22,774,781 or 38% to Public safety, i.e., the Sheriff’s department, including the jail.

[A RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE FISCAL YEAR 2021 OPERATING BUDGET]
A RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE FISCAL YEAR 2021 OPERATING BUDGET
PDF

The board packet is on the LAKE website after we obtained it through an open records request.

Although I hear the hotel/motel tax is down 80% due to virus pandemic, the Hotel/Motel Tax FY 2021 County Budget Budgeted Proceeds are $400,000.00. They are budget to go to:

$171,429.00 Transfer to Lowndes County’s Special Services Fund from which the County funds (i) services the County provides primarily for the benefit of the unincorporated area and
(ii) the County’s share of funding of services the County and one or more municipalities jointly fund

$171,429.00 Transfer to Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center and Tourism Authority
to promote tourism, convention, and trade shows in accordance with the FY 2021 Budget Plan of said Authority for same which is made a part of this Budget Plan

$57,142.00 Transfer to Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority
for capital costs and operating expenses of parks and recreational facilities owned and operated by said Authority

A rare no-match federal grant: Acceptance of FY20 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding brings the total expected expenditures from this Tuesday’s Regular Session down to less than a quarter million dollars:

Cost What
$148,345.58 Val Tech Road Grading, Drainage, Base and Paving
$82,000.00 Bevel Creek Manhole Emergency Repair
$57,300.00 The Modernization/Upgrade of the Elevator in the Governmental Building
($58,008)
in Federal Funding.
There is no local match requirement.
Acceptance of FY20 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding
$229,637.58Total

I commend Lowndes County Utilities for moving ahead to fix the recent manhole collapse at the Bevel Creek Lift Station on GA 376 near Loch Laurel Road. See also Sewer line repair between manholes, Bevel Creek Lift Station @ LCC 2020-06-22.

Photo: Terry Richards, The Valdosta Daily Times, Heavy rains cause problems in Lowndes 2020-06-08.
Photo: Terry Richards, The Valdosta Daily Times, Heavy rains cause problems in Lowndes 2020-06-08.

It’s a busy agenda for appointments, to Continue reading

Storm drains, Smart Community Challenge Grant @ VCC 2020-06-11

I give them credit for livestreaming while they work out the kinks in for example better sound.

City Manager Mark Barber is reading questions from citizens. First one is about how to prevent situations like with George Floyd. Second one is about unnecessary use of force, more funding for educators, minimum wage, etc.

[Vcc-facebook-live]
Vcc-facebook-live

Valdosta City Council’s own facebook livestream. Continue reading

Packet: 2 Appointments, 2 Rezonings, Lift Station, Drainage, Facilities @ LCC 2020-06-08

Thanks to Sabrina Denson for sending the board packet Friday. It is on the LAKE website.

The Work Session is this Monday at 8:30 AM, and they vote at the Regular Session 5:30 PM Tuesday.

CostWhat
$71,789.00 Blue Lake Lift Station Emergency Repair
$1,208.80 Approve Condemning ROW and Drainage Easement for Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. TSPLOST Paving Project
$72,997.8Total

[Zoning Location Map]
Zoning Location Map

See also the agenda.

-jsq

Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

2 Appointments, 2 Rezonings, Lift Station, Drainage, Facilities @ LCC 2020-06-09

Tuesday at 5:30 PM the Lowndes County Commission proposes to spend about $73,000 on water projects, which is a good thing. Monday at 8:30 AM they also do have a Work Session scheduled.

CostWhat
$71,789.00 Blue Lake Lift Station Emergency Repair Work Session/Regular Session DATE OF MEETING: June 9, 2020
$1,208.80 Approve Condemning ROW and Drainage Easement for Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. TSPLOST Paving Project
$72,997.8Total

I commend the county for proactively preventing major sewer system leaks. Hm, only one bid?

“HISTORY, FACTS AND ISSUES: The discharge pipes at Blue Lake lift station are leaking due to corrosion. Staff has deemed this an emergency due to the condition of the pipes and the pumps not operating at capacity. A bid was received from RPI Underground Inc. for $71,789.00 to make the necessary repairs to bring the station back to designed capacity and operation. Staff recommends approval of Blue Lake lift station emergency repairs and authorize RPI Underground Inc to make the repairs for $71,789.00.”

The two rezonings that were not previously heard by the Planning Commission (which did not meet last month due to pandemic) are not listed as having any “BUDGET IMPACT”.

[4055 Knights Academy Road location map]
4055 Knights Academy Road location map for Rezoning Case REZ-2020-05 (Districts 1 & 4) Jose Lage, 4055 Knights Academy Rd. R-A to P-D, Well/Septic, ~36.926 acres
Image: Lowndes County Tax Assessors Map.

Also they will (almost certainly) reappoint Andrea Schruijer and Clay Griner to the South Regional Joint Development Authority. And almost certainly they will reappoint Victoria Copeland to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBOA), plus someone else, with no candidates listed. Interestingly, the agenda sheet for ZBOA says “DEPARTMENT: Zoning DEPARTMENT HEAD: JD Dillard” even though the county’s website still says 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

Agenda: Jails, grants, hazards, roads, and Clyattville Park Community Center @ LCC 2020-05-26

No Lowndes County Commission agenda would be complete without another of these, in the agenda for zero dollars, but will cost taxpayers much more in subdivisions in the future: Approve Purchasing ROW and Drainage Easement for Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. TSPLOST Paving Project.

[Clyattstone Road]
Clyattstone Road in Lowndes County Tax Assessors map, connecting Old US 41 N and Val Del Road, where REZ-2020-03 Wetherington Property, Val Del Road RA to PD was already approved for another subdivision, across from Nelson Hill.

They vote tonight at 5:30 PM.

Three years ago they chose among bids for the Naylor Community Center, but for the Architectural Services for A New Community Center for Clyattville Park they’re using the same architect with no bids.

The Lowndes County Commission will be spending the least taxpayer dollars tonight of any recent session.

CostWhat
$62,045.00 Motorola Maintenance and Support Agreement for Jail Software
$28,000.00 (Estimated) Architectural Services for A New Community Center for Clyattville Park
$20,000 Service Agreement with SGRC for Hazard Mitigation Plan Update
$1085.00 Approve Purchasing ROW and Drainage Easement for Clyattstone Rd.-Simpson Ln. TSPLOST Paving Project
$ 0 Adopt Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for SetterPointe Subdivision, Phase II
$111,130Total

What’s this? Adopt The Language Access Plan and Resolution for Federal Funded Grants? 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

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