Emily Davenport, Valdosta Stormwater Manager, sent a letter 2 June 2014 to attendees of the 6 May 2014 Army Corps of Engineers presentations, with paper materials attached, and a note that they are also online at Stormwater Division, Regional Flooding. [Not there anymore, but see updated first bullet item below. 2018-01-28 -jsq]
In these videos of the initial flooding study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Valdosta City Council Work Session, you can see they’re the Corps, all right: they want to build a levee. They did emphasize that this was just an initial study on what could be done inside Valdosta, and their main conclusion was that there was enough need to indicate federal interest, as in possibilities of getting federal funding for solutions. City Manager Larry Hanson got the Corps to confirm (several times) that Valdosta alone couldn’t stop the flooding, since the vast majority of floodwaters comes from upstream on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers.
Later that same evening in response to citizen questions at the Valdosta City Hall Annex, the Corps clarified more that they did understand there were issues of impervious surfaces and development and loss of wetlands and they wanted to do a much larger study of the entire watershed, which could take several years to accomplish. They kept emphasizing that the Suwannee River watershed is one of the largest in the country, and there are also flooding problems on the Suwannee River, which could be important for obtaining federal dollars.
As we already knew, Valdosta has funded projects already started to move the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) uphill and to add a force main to prevent manhole overflows. People downstream in Florida may be relieved to hear something is being done.
Here’s a video playlist, followed by images of the Corp’s slides and of the City Council, and some notes.Continue reading
Tonight we get to hear twice about the long-awaited flooding study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: once with no citizen input at the Valdosta City Council Work Session, and then with citizen input at Valdosta City Hall Annex. Presumably this study will say something about the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), the new force main to prevent manhole overflows, and maybe some upstream measures to keep quite as much water from getting there. This study only addresses issues within the city limits of Valdosta, not the larger watersheds upstream on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers and downstream: that will take more funding. People downstream in Florida may be relieved to hear something is being done.Continue reading
In the Spotlight on Valdosta’s front page says:
Click here for updates to Valdosta’s Sanitary Sewer System improvement projects.
Once again, Valdosta famous into Florida again for wastewater spill, and Florida residents are tired of it.
WCTV 1 March 2014, Georgia Spill Leads To Warning In Florida
[Matt] Meersman and his friends enjoy visiting the Suwannee River to train for canoe races. According to the City of Valdosta, heavy rains have caused about 7.5 million gallons of highly treated waste water to wash into the Withlacoochee River, which connects to the Suwannee. Signs are posted around the Suwannee River State Park to let people know about the possible dangers of swimming in the water.
“When it’s impacted by stuff like this, it makes it hard on us to think about it as the pristine place that we like to think of it as,” said Meersman.
Meersman says there are other rivers around the area they can practice on in the meantime, but he says he’s tired of the spills.
“It’s bad enough Continue reading
What if the Industrial Authority used its bond-issuing power to finance rooftop solar? And what if it combined that with utility-scale solar projects on its own industrial park lands, and for example at the airport, or at the new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant?
Here’s the idea, in a report by Citi GPS, Energy Darwinism: The Evolution of the Energy Industry, October 2013, pages 48-49,
It is not just the technology that is evolving in the solar industry; the financing of solar projects, both residential and utility-scale is evolving quickly. The most notable development here has been in the form of solar leasing, whereby the rooftop panels are owned by a third party who effectively leases the rooftop from the home/factory/office owner, the latter receiving payment normally through a reduction in electricity bills paid for by the lessee. This provides the benefits of cheaper and cleaner solar electricity to the homeowner, whilst negating the need for the significant initial capital outlay. The panel owner or lessee earns their return via incentive mechanisms such as the U.S. Investment Tax Credit, and via the sale of the electricity back to the local utility. This financing mechanism has proved particularly successful in the U.S. and is gaining traction in the UK, with companies in other countries looking to follow suit.
This is what Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning suggested back in May that SO might do. But we don’t have to wait on Southern Company or Georgia Power.
At the utility scale level, the emergence of innovative financing vehicles such as green bonds Continue reading
Valdosta city PR today, City Receives $36.7 million GEFA Loan to Move Forward with Force Main Project,
The city will use the low-interest loan to finance the construction of two major pump stations, two minor pump stations, a 6-mile 32-inch and 40-inch force main, a headworks structure with grit removal and bar screens, and a 6-million gallon equalization basin. Wastewater will be gravity fed to the existing site of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) for final treatment and discharged utilizing the existing plant outfall, until the relocation of the plant is completed in November 2015.
This project will Continue reading
In which we discover one candidate works for the City of Valdosta and opposes SPLOST. Candidates took questions directly from the audience and answered them, unlike at later candidate forums. Candidates from the smaller cities started their tradition of not showing up for forums outside their cities. Here’s the list of qualified candidates. See also the videos of the 30 Club forum 2013-10-21 and the videos of the AAUW forum 2013-10-15.Call to Order, Moment of Silence for Congress, Pledge, Approval of Minutes, Treasurer’s Report.
The candidates were almost unanimous on SPLOST VII and how to prevent JK situations, but more varied on other questions. Roy Copeland, billed as “Valdosta attorney” (but perhaps known better to LAKE readers as VLCIA board member and former Chairman) was the moderator, assisted by Valdosta Fire Chief and Thirty Club member J.D. Rice. They took questions from the audience and recognized their host, Pastor Floyd Rose of Serenity Church. You may wonder as I do why city council candidates were answering about graduation rates.
Matthew Woody wrote for the VDT 21 October 2013, ‘Let the games begin’. Here’s the list of qualified candidates. As usual, nobody showed up from the smaller cities, although at least one Valdosta candidate, Richard Miller, spoke up for the smaller cities about SPLOST.Continue reading
Received 27 October 2013. -jsq
I have had a number of folks contact me about the upcoming SPLOST VII referendum and inquiring about a MOST. Trying to talk about all of this in as few a words as I can is not easy. But to give you some perspective—the city’s general fund budget is $32M. $5.9M of the revenue for this fund comes from property taxes. Based on the city tax digest a mill is worth $1.5M. The experts say 50.2% of the sales tax is paid by out of towners. In the opinion of some folks, it is closer to 30%. Pick the experts or local guesses ….it still is a significant amount. It clearly is very beneficial to the citizens of Valdosta and Lowndes County.
By now many have heard about a MOST or Municipal Option Sales Tax.
In the first part of this year—the city of Valdosta was faced with Continue reading