Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 24, 2013

Commission retreat continues

Commissioners make priority list, talk SPLOST

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners met for the second and final day of their 2013 Planning Retreat, this time spending the morning discussing state legislation that could impact the county, the state of each of the county departments and goals for the coming year.

For incoming commissioners John Page and Demarcus Marshall, the morning was a continuation of an introduction into their service on the new five-member board, and for new Chairman Bill Slaughter, it was an opportunity to create a list of priorities.

Issues in legislation included House Bill 176, which “has the potential to be detrimental to Moody Air Force Base, as it may limit their fly zone,” County Manager Joe Pritchard said, along with HB 142, which pertains to the ethics of local governments, and HB 80, which makes adjustments to the way vehicles will be taxed.

House Bill 176 gives independent cellular phone companies the ability to build or modify cell towers without the intervention of governments. If these companies choose to build near Moody, this could mean problems with the base’s fly zone, Pritchard said.

During the report of the Utilities Department, Page expressed concern about the County’s plan to tie all water systems together and have it “run downhill” to a treatment plant in the southern part of the county. He expressed a strong preference for individual systems running off of independent wells, but he was met with unanimous support against his opinion.

“Just because you drill a well doesn’t mean it’s healthy,” Slaughter said, speaking about the difficulty in maintaining quality issues among independent wells.

“Why we’re tied into the same county-wide system when we have individual systems already, it may be a philosophical thing, and we may have a difference of opinion,” Page said. “But we don’t need to gloss over things like this. We need to re-evaluate them.”

Commissioner Crawford Powell spoke for the remaining commissioners, saying, “If we were to take a straw poll, the majority would want to keep it the way it is.”

Pritchard continued the departmental reports with the announcement of the Public Works Department’s anticipation of a heavy mosquito season, which could mean more expenditures on insect-preventative larvacide and “adulticide,” Pritchard said.

In the Planning Division report, Pritchard mentioned the success of Warner Robins in their efforts to preserve Robins Air Force Base from encroachment issues. Houston County purchased land around the base to maintain control of the base’s activity zone and halt development near the base.

The policies of Houston County and Warner Robins could serve as an example for Lowndes County’s approach to the preservation of Moody, Pritchard explained. Slaughter said the preservation of the base is a high priority, as its presence and continued operation injects upwards of $50 million a year into the county economy.

Pritchard mentioned the successes of efforts in the Animal Welfare Division, including the County’s first county-wide pet adoption and health fair last year, but the board expressed concerns about the size and quality of the animal shelter, which was originally built using an experimental composite material, Slaughter said.

Updates to the facility used to house the Emergency 911 call center might also be necessary, Slaughter said.

In summary, Slaughter took the final portion of the meeting to elicit goals from the commission and announce his own list, gathered over both days of the retreat.

Page expressed a desire for the Commission to keep communication open and “be patient” with the new commissioners as they learn new things about the county. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall said he would like to put the argument between the City and County over the division of SPLOST and LOST revenues “behind him.”

“At some point, someone is going to have to be the adult in the room,” Marshall said. “I want peace.”

Commissioner Crawford Powell said he would like to see a six-month report on the new waste management policy. Commissioner Richard Raines expressed concerns about preserving the local health care industry, and Commissioner Joyce Evans said she would like to hire more employees to extend the scope of the pre-trial release program.

Finally, Slaughter shared his list with the commission—upgrades to computer equipment, the expansion of broadband service in the county, bridge repairs, road paving, fleet replacement, the expansion of the 911 center, a direct fiber cable system and efforts to protect Moody. He also mentioned the importance of SPLOST.

“Very little of what we talked about is attainable without revenue,” Slaughter said. “The community needs SPLOST to advance the county and prevent tax increases. We don’t want to wait until a bridge is out to have to raise taxes to repair it. SPLOST is necessary. So we have to be a little concerned about the needs of the city as well because we’re stewards of everyone in the county.”

Before the County can generate an official priority list, an agreement between the City of Valdosta and the County on the division of SPLOST revenues must be reached, Slaughter said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Jim Zachary Mug shot.jpg Zachary named The Valdosta Daily Times’ editor

    Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
    During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-griner001.jpg Griner takes oath

     Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow commissioners, Clay Griner took the oath of office Monday morning as the Lowndes County Super District 5 commissioner.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-man_hunt001.jpg Dump truck thieves sought

    Authorities continued searching for suspects Monday evening connected to a stolen dump truck involved in a chase with law-enforcement.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • City workers strike natural gas main

    A gas leak evacuated a neighborhood Monday when workers struck a natural gas main.

    July 29, 2014

  • education.jpg Desegregation status approved

    Forty-three years after an initial lawsuit was filed to force the system to desegregate, Valdosta City Schools has officially been approved for “unitary status.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results