Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 7, 2013

Shaping the Future

Valdosta-Lowndes leaders discuss SPLOST, Moody, broadband

VALDOSTA — Community and business leaders from across Lowndes County met for a development and cooperation conference at Valdosta State University Wednesday afternoon to build confidence in one another and share priorities and concerns.

Leaders from Lowndes County, the Cities of Valdosta, Hahira, Lake Park, and Remerton, South Georgia Medical Center, Valdosta State University, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Tourism Authority, Georgia Power, Colquitt Electric Membership Corporation, Lowndes County and Valdosta City schools, and the real estate and small business communities attended.

The leaders sat at a round table in the meeting room on the second floor of the VSU Oak Street parking garage. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and County

Chairman Bill Slaughter led the meeting.

Slaughter made it clear that communication among the leadership of various entities in the county is key to achieving common goals, and Gayle took notes to keep a list of priorities discussed in the meeting.

Marketing the seventh cycle of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to help it pass this November seemed to be the top priority, as making immediate plans for this campaign is time-sensitive.

“We realize how important it is, and we will get on it in 24 to 48 hours,” Gayle said.

Broadband Internet availability across the county was also mentioned as a high priority. Strong Internet infrastructure will help market Valdosta as a development destination, according to the Industrial Authority; aid the educational needs of students living in the county, according to Lowndes Schools; and help governments keep in touch with each other, according to the City of Valdosta.

Broadband infrastructure could take two to three years to develop, Slaughter said.

The development of gateways into the Valdosta community were also mentioned at the meeting, since touring developers get a strong first impression of Valdosta and the county at entryways into town.

The Chamber of Commerce mentioned the preservation of Moody Air Force Base from Base Realignment and Closure issues due to encroachment; chamber representatives said the county and its municipalities should realize the base’s importance to the local economy as well as the impact its closure would have.

“We don’t need to wait for a crisis to act,” Chamber Chairman Jay Prince said.

Wiregrass Georgia President Dr. Ray Perren said the technical college’s priority is investment in “human infrastructure.” About 20 percent of Lowndes County citizens have not graduated from high school, Perren said, and he would like to see an effort to reach these people.

VSU President Dr. Bill McKinney attempted to summarize the needs of everyone in the room, noticing that many suggestions fell under only a few umbrellas, and pushed the priorities further.

“What these priorities all have in common is economic development and quality of life,” McKinney said. “I would love to have the conversation, ‘What will success look like? Strategically, what do we want to accomplish?’”

Many agreed that the efforts should be divided into “markers” or a list of achievable goals. Gayle stressed the importance of assigning committees to ensure goals and landmarks.

SGMC CEO Randy Sauls mentioned he would like to share information between governments and other entities; being better informed would help make strong development decisions as cooperation efforts move forward.

Realtor Ron Borders asked if Gayle and Slaughter would allow a few days for those in attendance to contemplate their priorities further after the meeting. Gayle acquiesced.

“Within the next two weeks, email us your priorities in order,” Gayle announced to the group. “We’ll look at those, and contact the people we need and have them report to us at the next meeting.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, Slaughter said he plans to hold the leadership meetings on a regular basis.

“I think the meeting went very, very well,” Slaughter said. “I hope in two or three years we can look back and see that we have accomplished something.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marath_Stew.jpg Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results