Tag Archives: Valdosta

Videos: 911, T-SPLOST details, delinguent subdivision, Juvenile Justice Incentive, GDOT Exits @ LCC 2017-04-11

The Lowndes County Commission did not meet this week (no reason given: the meetings merely marked Canceled on the county’s online calendar), but it did two weeks ago.

On April 11, 2017 we discovered the T-SPLOST meeting would be at the regular SGRC location in Pearson, 1PM Monday April 17, 2017. Michelle Williams of Hahira noted a phenomenon of people not checking for ownership of lost and found pets. The week of 10 April 2017 was Telecommunications Week and the Chairman thanked 911 Center personnel.

The GDOT Mowing Contract includes all the exits in Lowndes County. They unanimously approved that and everything else, The longest item at almost eight minutes was the Tuscan Palms subvision asking to be forgiven paving money the county gave it that never was used. Continue reading

Duke Energy solar: NC, SC, and now Florida

Duke’s new solar farms in Florida echo what Duke was already doing three and a half years ago when an independent study concluded more solar power in North Carolina would save utility ratepayers tens of millions of dollars annually.


Duke solar power farm in Perry, Florida, courtesy Duke Energy

John Downey, Charlotte Business Journal, 23 October 2013, Study: Solar benefits outweigh costs in NC,

It notes the gains from solar projects — such as lower transmission and distribution costs, avoided emissions, lower losses of electricity in transmission. The study calculates that such benefits outweigh the costs by 30 percent to 40 percent.

The utility buying most of that solar power in North Carolina is none other than Duke Energy. Parcel 25-01S-11E-1090700.0000 In Florida, Duke just got approval from the Suwannee Board of County Commissioners to build a 62-acre 8.8 MW solar plant next to its Suwannee Power Plant, while shutting down some old natural gas generating turbines, and keeping some newer ones going.

As we learned only a week before at a meeting about the Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) required by the Florida legislature, nitrogen runoff from fertilizers is a huge problem in the Suwannee River Basin, and needs to be reduced 80-90% from every source. Duke Energy (or even FPL) could buy power from distributed solar farms on 1030 more acres in Suwannee County and produce enough power to shut down the rest of its gas turbines at that Suwannee River facility, while generating enough power for twice the number of households in Suwannee County. That would remove power plant emissions and use of cooling water, while helping solve the BMAP problem.

No, I’m not recommending cutting down trees for solar panels. Rooftop solar power and solar panels on marginal farmland would make far more sense. As even Duke says, solar panels produce “little to no waste”, which means no fertilizer or pesticide runoff from them. Graze cows, sheep, or goats around them, and the farmer has income from both the solar panels and the livestock, while still needing no pesticides to control weeds. That’s what Sandy Hill Solar of Elm City, North Carolina does, and the utility buying their power is Duke Energy.

Duke by February 2015 had expanded its solar buying into South Carolina, and by October 2015 announced a new solar farm near Perry, Florida, Duke’s second such project in Florida, and operational in Perry by September 2016. Funny how solar plants can go online in less than a year, unlike the three-year-plus permitting process of interstate natural gas pipelines.

The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) lists numerous studies about the cost-effectiveness of solar power, including that North Carolina 2013 report, now with a copy on the LAKE website. SEIA also lists one for Virginia which is on the MDV-SEIA website, and now also has a copy on the LAKE website.

For Georgia SEIA lists the testimony of GSEIA before the Georgia Public Service Commission in 2013. See also other testimony at that same GA-PSC session, which resulted in GA-PSC requiring Georgia Power to buy twice as much solar power as it wanted to. GA-PSC did the same again in 2015, which was also the year Georgia Power finally stopped its dozen-year-long objections to fixing a 1970s law, and actively backed a 2015 version of that solar financing bill, which passed unanimously in the Georgia Senate and was signed by the same Georgia governor who had accepted campaign finance contributions from multiple pipeline company PACs. After the bill became law, Georgia Power started selling solar power.

Georgia Power’s parent company Southern Company is also installing solar power in the Florida panhandle through its subsidiary Gulf Power, including three projects at military bases totalling 120 MW.

All that is without even comparing solar power to natural gas pipelines such as Sabal Trail. I did that comparison, and I’m still watiing for somebody to show me any flaws in my arithmetic, which shows that FPL’s ratepayers, now stuck with a $3.2 billion bill for the Sabal Trail boondoggle, could get five times as much electricity through solar power at that price.

For Florida SEIA lists only a very old (2003) study with a broken link, which can be found as a google book, but now would mostly be worthwhile as a museum piece. Duke’s own actions in Florida in 2016 and 2017 indicate Duke Energy knows the sun is rising even on the Sunshine State.

Sure, Duke is going too slow (although not as slow as FPL). Duke’s “strategic, long-range plan to install 35 megawatts of universal solar by 2018, and up to 500 megawatts in the state by 2024” is pocket change for peanuts. Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson’s research project has spelled out what Florida (and each other U.S. state) needs in solar, wind, and water power to run everything, depicted on thesolutionsproject.org and backed up by a hundred-plus-page report.

The people of Florida are demanding more solar power. Tens of millions of dollars in fossil fuel and utility money didn’t convince the voters of Florida to support a fake solar amendment last November. The sun is rising, even on the Sunshine State. All the dirty dollars and all the bought politicians can’t stop it.

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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!

Inner Perimeter Overlay Zone, Personal Care, and Estate Agriculture @ GLPC 2017-04-24

Two of the three Valdosta cases for tonight involve the Inner Perimeter Road Corridor Overlay District of Valdosta’s Land Development Regulations. The other Valdosta case is about a Personal Care Home on Hollywood Street. The two Lowndes County cases on ‘ the Planning Commission agenda are opposite: REZ-2017-05 Cody Califf wants the usual rezoning of agricultural to residential development, but REZ-2017-04 Jeffrey Taibl wants to return to Estate Agricultural.

Greater Lowndes Planning Commission
Lowndes County City of Valdosta City of Dasher City of Hahira City of Lake Park REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING
AGENDA

Monday, April 24, 2017 * 5:30 P.M. * Public Hearing
Lowndes County South Health District Administrative Office
325 West Savannah Avenue

Continue reading

Agenda, Deep South Regional Municipal Solid Waste Management Authority 2017-04-19

Grants to participating local governments are mostly what’s on the agenda for next Wednesday for the Deep South Solid Waste Management Authority, sent today by Julia Shewchuck of SGRC (PDF).

DSSWA-Agenda--04192017-0001 On the telephone yesterday she clarified that the grants from this Authority mentioned in the Lowndes County Commission Goals meetinng are exclusively available to the seven local governments participating in this Authority. They are: Berrien County, Lanier County, Lowndes County, City of Nashville, City of Lakeland, City of Valdosta, and Echols County CG. She also noted that Echols County was one of the original participants in the authority, even though it had dropped off for a while, and had been added back in a recent year (2014).

DEEP SOUTH
REGIONAL MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY

Meeting of the Board of Directors
Deep South Regional Municipal Solid Waste Management Authority
April 19, 2017
6:00 PM
Southern Georgia Regional Commission
Valdosta, Georgia
AGENDA Continue reading

Videos: T-SPLOST report, delinguent subdivision, Juvenile Justice Incentive, GDOT Exits & Mowing @ LCC 2017-04-10

They vote 5:30 PM Tuesday about what they discussed this morning. The longest item at five minutes was 6a. FY2018 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program REquest. Third longest was a subvision asking to be forgiven paving money the county gave it that never was used. And second longest, although not on the agenda, was a T-SPLOST report by the County Manager.

Below are Continue reading

No T-SPLOST, Juvenile Youth Action and Justice Incentive, GDOT Exits & Mowing, late subdivision @ LCC 2017-04-10

No T-SPLOST on the agenda for Monday morning, despite tabling it two weeks ago until their next meeting. That may be because while Lowndes County dithered, ten other of the 18 counties in the region agreed to put it on the ballot, so now it doesn’t matter what the Lowndes County Commission decides about that. Remember, even with it on the ballot, it can still be voted down, like in 2012. Meanwhile, according to the VDT,

In the coming weeks, a regional roundtable of government representatives will determine when the public vote will take place, the projected revenue from the tax and what projects the tax would fund if passed.

You, the taxpayers, are not invited to those roundtables, which will be held on unknown dates at unknown locations.

On the agenda for Monday morning and Tuesday evening is the ironic justaxposition of Special Proclamation Presentation to the Teen Explosion Youth Action Group and FY2018 Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program Request for Proposals (RFP). There are two GDOT items and a late payment by a subdivision, with its name spelled wrong by the county, or by Trulia, or somebody.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2017, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Videos: regional T-SPLOST tabled, Trash disposal renewals, another lift station pump, Dasher Streets @ LCC 2017-03-28

They tabled T-SPLOST until their next meeting because they got a complaint from the Chamber about process, and also from others. Remember, even if it gets on the ballot, it can still be voted down again, like in 2012.

Meanwhile, John Stephen, VDT, 7 April 2017, T-SPLOST headed for referendum,

Even though the Lowndes County Commission delayed a vote on the regional T-SPLOST at its last meeting due to local confusion on the one-penny sales tax, enough counties in the area now support the tax (10 out of 18 were needed) to move it forward to a public vote even without the commission’s approval.

In the coming weeks, a regional roundtable of government representatives will determine Continue reading

A county access variance and a Valdosta Country clubhouse variance @ ZBOA 2017-04-04

2:30 PM today: it looks like Don Brotherton bought a piece of land without enough road access, and now he wants a county variance, while Valdosta Country Club wants a city variance for its clubhouse, and city staff don’t agree. This is a very light agenda for the decision-making Zoning Board of Appeals. Courtesy of ZBOA member Gretchen Quarterman, the entire board packet is on the LAKE website.

Valdosta – Lowndes County Zoning Board of Appeals

Matt Martin,
Valdosta Planning and Zoning Administrator
300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, Georgia
(229) 259-3563

Carmella Braswell,
Lowndes County Zoning Administrator
327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, Georgia
(229) 671-2430

AGENDA
April 4, 2017
2:30 p.m.

Continue reading

Videos: City of Valdosta Retreat at Lenox River Ranch 2017-03-17-18

Thanks to George Boston Rhynes for tracking the Valdosta City Council to the wilds of Lenox River Ranch where they meet every year in Colquitt County. Here are his videos.

The city did publish an agenda on their website.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist of George’s videos:

Continue reading

Videos: Sheriff still wants warrants, elections, judges, EMS coroner, Budget Requests (2 of 3 days) @ LCC 2017-03-28

Sheriff Ashley Paulk still wants a warrant before he turns anybody over to ICE. I agree with him that there’s no point in arresting people who are busy working in the fields. Georgia already tried that a few years ago, and crops rotted.

These are the LAKE videos from day 2 of 3. They’re back at it this morning, and Gretchen is there with the LAKE video camera.

The Board of Elections got the second-longest discussion at 44 minutes, partly because the Elections Supervisor kept using jargon it’s not clear the Commissioners understood. Longest discussion was with newly-elected Coroner Austin Fiveash, whose office has been kicked out of Remerton, which used to heavily subsidize it, and he apparently didn’t know the Coroner doesn’t get a car supplied, nor any office help. When asked why he picked an assistant coroner who already had a half-time job, he said nobody wanted this job. Well, apparently he did: he ran for it.

And still no agenda on the county’s website. Why doesn’t the county want the tax-paying public to know what they’re doing? Continue reading