Valdosta Daily Times

July 10, 2013

Valdosta City Council discusses SPLOST VII proposals

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — At their work session Tuesday night, the Valdosta City Council discussed proposals for SPLOST VII and heard a presentation on the Federal Home Loan Bank Program.

With SPLOST VII on the ballot in November, City Manager Larry Hanson presented a proposed allocation of the estimated funds the city of Valdosta would be receiving through SPLOST VII if it passes.

Of the $80 million Valdosta is estimated to receive during the six-year life span of SPLOST VII, $55 million would go to water and sewer, with $3 million of that going to inflow and infiltration repairs and the rest towards relocating and repairing the Withlacoochee sewer treatment plant, along with moving and heavily modifying the collection system.

“Moving the plant, we have to move the collection system,” said Hanson.

Hanson presented what he called a “very aggressive timeline” that would see the new treatment plant completed by August of 2015.

Engineering would receive $12.6 million, which would go towards improvements and repairs to roads, sidewalks, intersections and drainage, as well as improvements to traffic control.

The police department would receive $3 million, while the fire department would receive $4.2 million. Both lists consist of a number of equipment upgrades and replacements, with the fire department proposed to receive four new pumpers, an upgrade to the county wide radio system and a 100' Aerial Truck. The police department would also contribute to the county wide radio system upgrade, as well as replacing walkie-talkies, the firearms training simulator, tactical team supplies such as body armor and shields, and shotguns, while upgrading the in-car video system, command vehicle consoles and remodeling the investigations bureau. The police department would also upgrade the generator at the police department and purchase one for the crime lab.

Hanson also presented several back up options if SPLOST VII doesn't pass: passing a MOST, raising utility rates 75 percent, or raising the millage rate on property taxes.

The council discussed the Federal Home Loan Bank Program. The City was awarded an $800,000 grant in August 2011 for owner occupied rehabilitation and reconstruction. The grant is designed to award grants to home owners for home repairs.

To qualify, the repairs have to be under $10,000, the home must be located in the city's Designated Revitalization Area, the applicant must be the legal owner and provide proof on income and residency, property taxes and insurance must be current and the repairs must improve and/or remedy unsafe living conditions. Since the grant was awarded to Valdosta, $200,000 of it has been used by local home owners to make repairs. The $600,000 that remains of the grant is still available to make grants to local home owners to apply for, but on December 1, any remaining money will be returned to the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Home owners interested in applying can contact the Neighborhood Development Department at (229) 671-3617.

Also discussed at the work session were a rezoning proposal to change 2533 N. Ashley Street from Residential-Professional to Community-Commercial and a request to close a portion of the right-of-way on Cowart Avenue.

The City Council will meet to vote on actionable items Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.