Valdosta Daily Times

January 9, 2014

Council urged to make good decisions

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — The Valdosta City Council holds its annual retreat this weekend at the Lenox River Ranch to discuss last year and make plans for the current year.

The retreat is being held two months earlier than usual because there are items the councilmen want to address at the beginning of the legislative session rather than the end.

The council’s agenda includes discussions on SPLOST and LOST, Georgia Department of Transportation projects, and local issues that each council members requested be considered at the retreat. From this meeting, the council will create goals to accomplish during the next year.

The retreat in 2013 came in the thick of the sewage issues, and most of the discussion then centered on fixing the many problems with the plant and the system.

At this point, most of those plans are in progress or will be soon, so the council has more leeway this time to discuss other issues of importance to the city.

Newly elected and sworn-in Councilwoman Sandra Tooley has requested that officials look again at televising their meetings and the issue of public transportation.

Other issues of concern include entraceways to the city, a review of the panhandling ordinance, sidewalk and resurfacing projects, alternate truck routes, and compensation procedures for the mayor and council.

Perhaps to add some levity to the meeting, although proposed seriously, is a potential ban on saggy pants and a look at other city’s indecency laws, although enforcement is probably the bigger issue in this discussion.

The city manager will address Valdosta’s financial resources versus expectations of officials and citizens. With at least $93 million already owed to the Georgia Environmental Management Association, even with a payment plan from SPLOST proceeds, this is perhaps not the best time for the council to engage in any large expenditures.

Council, mayor and manager stewardship of public funds and taxes is a burden not to be taken lightly, and with good decisions for the future, those dollars can be spent wisely and ensure the future health of the community.