Tag Archives: TSPLOST

Millage Rate Hearing w. new fire millage @ LCC 2021-08-24

With the new 2.5 mil fire millage on unincorporated Lowndes County, property taxes in unincorporated Lowndes County will still be lower than in Valdosta.

The slides, presented by Finance Director Stephanie Black, were informative, although somewhat hard to read on the screen behind the Commissioners. They are not on the county’s website, and also not in the board packet.

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker asked one question, wanting to know what the total millage would be for residents in the unincorpated parts of the county. Answer: 13.1.

Nobody spoke for or against at the Millage Rate Hearing, so it took less than eleven minutes.

[Slides, Finance, Fire millage, Commission]
Slides, Finance, Fire millage, Commission

The Lowndes County Commission voted in its Regular Session 20 minutes later.

Here is the LAKE video of the Millage Public Hearing. See also Continue reading

Packet: Subdivisions, Land taking, trash @ LCC 2021-03-22

As usual, the items with the most long-term expense are in the agenda for zero dollars, for the Lowndes County Commission meetings Monday and Tuesday: two subdivisions, one opposed by 200 neighbors (REZ-2021-03 Johnston Subdivision, School House Pond Road), another wanting the county to accept its roads, water, and other infrastructure (Adopt Resolution Accepting Infrastructure for Quarterman [no relation] Estates Subdivision Phase III on Whitewater Road), meaning the county is on the hook for maintenance, in addition to costs of sending school buses, sheriff, fire, etc.

[Subdivisions, Taking, Trash collection sites]
Subdivisions, Taking, Trash collection sites

Cost What
$2,149,692.26FY 2020 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Application
$43,490.00Bid for Breathing Air Machine for the Fire Department
$339.00Approve Condemning Right of Way and Drainage Easement for Hightower Road – Cooper Road TSPLOST Paving Project
$0.00Advanced Disposal Services Residential Solid Waste Franchise Renewal
$0.00Deep South Sanitation, LLC. Residential Solid Waste Franchise Renewal
$2,193,521.26Total

Most of the $2 million acknowledged in the board packet is for fire and rescue, which seems good to me.

In a rare move, apparently negotiations fell through with a landowner for land for utilities, so the county has condemned it and is taking it for a nominal fee: Approve Condemning Right of Way and Drainage Easement for Hightower Road – Cooper Road TSPLOST Paving Project.

The board packet, obtained in response to a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website. Here is the agenda:

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 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

Packet: Clyattstone Road rezoning yet again, Decorative lighting, Transportation, Alcohol, Taxes, Law, Cybersecurity, Pandemic @ LCC 2021-01-25

After discussion Monday morning, on Tuesday evening the Lowndes County Commission will approve spending $2 million tax dollars, mostly in $1.6 million on Lake Park Bellville Road, including relocating water and sewer lines. There’s another $90,000 on Hightower Road and Cooper Road NE, Right of Way Purchases.

Cost What
$1,655,975.00Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Contract Item Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding Lake Park Bellville Road
$280,193.75FY 2020 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Application
$90,670.31Approval of Hightower Road and Cooper Road NE, Right of Way Purchases
$29,400.00Cybersecurity Maturity Tier 1
$12,500.00Agreement with SGRC to Develop 2021 Lowndes County Comprehensive Plan Update
$20,000.00FY 2020 Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Grant (to be fully reimbursed)
$2,068,739.06Total

REZ-2020-20 Ballyntyne 6712 Clyattstone Road is back yet again, this time probably to be improved. The agenda sheet says no cost for that rezoning, but remember last time we added up more than $3 million the county has already spent on Clyattstone Road and water and sewer infrastructure.

The least expensive item with dollars listed is FY 2020 Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Grant, because it will be fully reimbursed.

Also inexpensive and probably cost-effective is Agreement with SGRC to Develop 2021 Lowndes County Comprehensive Plan Update.

[Subdivisions in northwest Lowndes County, GA]
Subdivisions in northwest Lowndes County, GA

Listed at no cost to the county is Addition to Basic Decorative Street Lighting District – Creekside West, Ph. 6 & 7 and Val Del Villas, which includes maps of subdivisions in northwest Lowndes County, allowing you to see the extent of sprawl so far in that direction.

The board packet is on the LAKE website, received Friday in response to a LAKE open records request.
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-01-25–lcc-packet/

We look forward to board packets being on the county’s own website along with the agenda.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

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

Notes: Special Called Meeting @ LCC 2020-04-16

Twelve minutes for their first-ever dial-in Lowndes County Commission meeting.

That’s longer than many of their in-person meetings, maybe because the Chairman had the Clerk call roll for the Commissioners for each vote. Both votes were unanimous with no discussion. Nobody explained why these items were important enough for a Special Called Meeting.

[Only two items]
Only two items

Before the meeting, in the room they had already Continue reading

Dialin to Special Called Meeting, Lowndes County Commission 2020-04-16 @ LCC 2020-04-16

Update 2020-04-16: LAKE Notes taken during the conference call.

Something good out of a pandemic: the first-ever telephone listen-in for a Lowndes County Commission meeting.

[With dialin instructions]
With dialin instructions

I assume listen-in because there is no Citizens To Be Heard on the agenda. While Madison County, Florida, BOCC, weeks ago had a participatory conference call meeting, I can’t imagine Lowndes County Commission doing that.

The only agenda items are how to spend the Hotel/Motel Tax (assuming there is any) for Tourism, and paying for right of way (ROW) for one parcel so TSPLOST paving of Clyattstone Road and Simpson Lane can continue. I don’t know why that one paving project is so important.

Special Called Meeting
April 16, 2020, 9:30 AM
@ In an effort to respect social distancing, a conference call line has been set up for this meeting. The call in number 813-769-0500 and the access code is 373-829-614#

There are only two items being addressed due to them needing immediate attention.

More Details

That “More Details” link goes to a page that has exactly the same information.

Agenda

However, unlike most Special Called Meetings, for this one they did post an agenda. We don’t know whether they will video the meeting. That would be good, since LAKE can’t go into the building to do that. See also 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: Annual Planning Meeting Day 2 @ LCC 2017-02-17

We learned why Lowndes County has gotten religion about Internet access and speed: Moody AFB wants it.

Commissioner Scottie Orenstein made the case for board packets and agendas in electronic form instead of the paper packets they currently use. Maybe they’ll even reveal them to the public before their meetings, like real MSAs do. Meanwhile, Community Engagement means marketing, as in telling people what the county did, not listening to the citizens.

They talked about interconnecting (almost) all of the county’s water systems, about routes to get trucks out of downtown Valdosta. The water-sewer ordinance is in ten or twelve pieces, and the county is all for expanding water and sewer throughout the county as long as it doesn’t cost developers money.

There’s a regional T-SPLOST meeting in Waycross by SGRC Feb 28 2017, but Lowndes commissioners and staff said nothing Continue reading