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LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Notes by John Quarterman. These are citizen notes recording what we think we heard at a public meeting of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners.

They are not the official minutes, which are usually approved at the next meeting.

Big items were the adult entertainment ordinance and Court Clerk Crow's issue, plus Boring Pond Road paving request.

The commission was obviously covering all the legal bases about the ordinance, in a way that the Planning Commission had not been prepared to do.

Court Clerk Crow's issue came to an reasonable conclusion for the moment, in a way that would have been even better if it had happened months ago.

What: (Meeting Name): Lowndes County Comissioners Meeting

When: (Meeting Date / Time): Tuesday July 14, 2009 5:30pm

Where: (Location of meeting)
325 West Savannah Ave.
Commission Chambers

Who: (Who were officials there)
Chairman: Ashley Paulk
District 1 Commissioner: Joyce Evans
District 2 Commissioner: Richard Lee
District 3 Commissioner: G. Robert Carter

(Who were other staff / speakers there)

A dozen or more county employees from various departments.

(Who or how many other attendees were there)

How: (Meeting Notes:)

Headings from Agenda (PDF)

1. Call to Order

2. Invocation

3. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

4. Minutes for Approval

a. Work Session – June 22, 2009

b. Regular Session – June 23, 2009

5. Appointments for Introduction

a. Animal Control Board

b. Development Authority of Lowndes County

Meets as needed. Appointed.

6. Resolution for MPO Transit Service Plan

Cory Hull, MPO: Local commitment $7.2M -> $1.3M Not asking for contribution at this time, only a vote of support. Service plan, 5 routes, VLD urbanized area, administration at regional commission, met plan comm., 3rd party contractor for operations.

Revised down from Cadillac to Malibu Chevy version.

$750K -> $100K for transit shelters.

Want to get evidence that local community supports a transit system.

Lee: What's the next step. If we throw in with the city of VLD in support, what next?

Cory: Financial backing.

Lee: Spit it out.

Cory: Fortunate to have American Recovery Act stimulus money in here. Must program those funds by Sept. 1st, or may be ineligible, since we're a startup system.

Lee: 1 year commitment?

Cory: Up front capital only. Stimulus funding cannot be used for ongoing operations.

Lee: Good segue to my next question. When we talked about this before I think you got the idea that I support a public transit system. Support county participation in a measured, practical, logical fashion. City dwellers will be principal beneficiaries. But there will be uninc. county benef., trying to get to ValTech, Moody, etc. Ridership? Previously almost 50-50 split in funding city-county.

Cory: Haven't yet specified where local funding sources will come from or percentage splits.

Lee: Did present something 4-5 emails back, a flowchart, almost 50-50 split. I don't think any of us are up for that. I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth, but I know I'm not. We're looking under every bucket for resources that are extraordinarily scarce right now.

Evans: Have you looked at per-ride costs.

Cory: One thing we're looking at right now is a fare cost between $1 and $1.50. Actual per-ride cost to the transit system is much higher than that

Paulk: 2 Charlotte & ? How much do you project it will lose per year?

Cory: About $1.2M in local revenue, not including state revenue.

Evans: 6-7 years ago when we tried to get the city to participate, we ended up we had to go with the bus system for cost.

Carter: The concept is fine for anybody who wants to pay for it.

Lee: I think we've beat the horse enough. I think it's something we need, even though we may not need it right now, and may not be able to do it right now. I make a motion that we adopt a resolution of support with the clear stipulation that it has no funding attached to it.

Evans: Second

Unanimous.

7. Ordinances

a. Solid Waste Management Plan Ordinance

b. Anti-littering Ordinance

Pritchard: Two related ordinances.

Lee: Got the permits, need something to back them up. Makes a motion for both.

Carter: Second.

Unanimous.

8. Public Hearings

a. REZ-2009-06 Tillman, Union & Cooper Rd., 0048 035, 2.78 ac., 1 lot, E-A to R-1, well/septic

Jason: Near Hahira.

Nobody spoke for or against.

Lee: Motion. Evans: second. Unanimous

b. REZ-2009-07 Roberts, 8812 Hwy 135, 0250 031A, 2.5 ac., 1 lot, R-10 to C-G, well/septic

Jason: Naylor. Old school. Res to commercial to support future activities. TRC and planning commission did support.

Nobody spoke for or against.

Lee: Carter. Evans: second. Unanimous

c. TWR-2009-01 9JK0903-A "Marlin", 3860 Old Quitman Hwy, 0036 004, 320 ac., E-A

Jason: Withdrawn by applicant. Will colocate on 2 towers to E and W.

No action.

d. Consideration of an Ordinance Regulating Adult Entertainment, Unincorporated Area, LCBOC

Jason: Continuation of the ordinance.

County Attorney (coatt): 1st amendment, reviewed other ordinances, data, secondary effects, etc. See work session minutes for details.

Binders with this stuff will be part of public record. Need to ask for it as pub rec req.

Sheriff Chris Prine:

coatt: stationed in Perry?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Yes.

coatt: saw effects of adult entertainment est.?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Yes, was located about 50 mi. n. in Warner Robins

coatt: and later in coastal areas, and observed effects?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Yes, Hinesville

coatt: Negative effect on surrounding properties?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Certainly does. Increase in drug trafficking, prostitution, DUIs, very evident.

coatt: More drug use in the immediate area?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Yes.

coatt: You've actually observed these effects on the surrounding areas?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Yessir, I have.

coatt: Effect of mixing alcohol and adult entertainment?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Increase violation of different traffic laws, DUI, etc., and drains our manpower.

coatt: If adult ent. est. permitted to sell alcohol, increases drug use, prostitution, solicitation, etc. in the immediate area?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Absolutely, it certainly does. Increases the drug traffic, prostitution, and alcohol.

coatt: Let me ask you the opposite assumption. If the est. is not permitted to sell alcohol, but other est. nearby are. What effect?

Sheriff Chris Prine: They go back and to, get the alcohol, and drive back. It does increase DUI, traffic accidents, and you have it.

coatt: Law enforcement effects?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Drains your manpower.

coatt: Final question. Effect of unreg. ad. ent. est. on development of businesses in the immediate area?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Just like in Hinesville, bus. around est. absolutely deteriorated; some of them closed. A direct effect on bus. around est.

coatt: Does it likewise affect dev. of bus in the area?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Yessir it does.

Lee: Just because they don't sell alcohol, won't people be able to buy at store X and brown bag it?

coatt: Ord. prohibits both consumption and sale of alc. on premises.

Lee: So they can watch but can't have libation.

Sheriff Chris Prine: They do brownbag; they'll have it in the vehicle; they'll go outside to get it. Public indecency; prostitution.

Lee: So your officers have to be htere to police that.

Sheriff Chris Prine: Yes.

coatt: No further questions for Sheriff Prine?

Sheriff Chris Prine: Thanks.

Paulk: Anyone else against or for?

Nobody.

Lee: In a perfect world, everybody on this commission would just as soon not have that sort of performance or entertainment going on around here, but we've done extensive research and learned from experiences of other comm. that we can't do that. Think we've monitor, control, contain this type of entertainment. Thanks to staff, etc. Makes motion to adopt.

Carter: Seconds.

Unanimous.

9. Citizens wishing to be heard

Rosie More 4655 Boring Pond Rd.

In early 70s Fred DeLoach told ? Boring Pond was on list to be paved. Was on list, taken off, several times. Been a road for 150 years. Between 1996 and 1997 needed drain pipes. As if a pond, water backing up into several yards. Got drains, but also lime rock, which we didn't request. Norman Bennett said that was the first step to pave the road. Living in dust ever since. Asked if could do just part, but told no. Yet that's what's happening. Howe Road end was on SPLOST paving list. ? told Peggy Witherspoon that would be 1st phase. Instead moved to Ezell Rd. 2.4 miles. 2nd phase of Boring Pond Rd. is shorter 1.9 mi. Current list of roads includes many which weren't even on the 2003 list. 12 other roads before us. In 2000 Peggy Witherspoon asked Mr. Carter over phone whether he was running and if so where were his signs? He said Boring Pond road was so bumpy he didn't want to mess up his new truck travelling on a bumpy road. Peggy Witherspoon and Mr. Wells, neighbor, have been speaking to Mr. Carter since, and he told them that before he goes out of office 2nd phase of Boring Pond Rd. would be paved. Mr. Carter said if landowners gave right of way, would be a lot faster. 29 out of 32 prop. owners petition said wanted it paved, and 28 would give RoW. We as property owners have been expecting BP road to be paved for some time now. Have copy if you would like.

Paulk: Yes ma'am I would. Asks Couny Engineer Mike Fletcher to speak.

Fletcher: Received petition; validating petition; getting prices from local surveyors; quote will be available at next commission meeting.

Citizen: Can't tell me whether it will be paved before those other roads?

Fletcher: Depends on RoW.

Carter: Do want it paved before I get out of office.

Citizen: Car air conditioner stopped working.

Carter: Understand you've got a problem.

One of 3 will give it; just wanted to know if they'll get their fence replaced.

Lee: We've all been involved in this process for a while. Petitions that say will give the RoW; people magically later forget they signed it; want compensation.

Fletcher: 3 phases: paved, your end, middle section. Petition from middle phase init. by Mr. James Carter. Want to do entire 4 miles.

Kevin Norris, 4794 Boring Pond Rd. Nothing written down. Lived on rd. for 45 years. Still wish it could be a dirt road. Stayed out there for lack of traffic and congestion. Road has been terrible; bumpy, but people still drive 50 mph over road. Got 4 grandchildren out there, don't want one of them run over. Tree in my yard. Looked at Ezell rd, saw what they did. Was willing to give land on one side to keep road from coming up to my house. Know about middle and end of road petitions. My little finite mind; they were told at one time they didn't have the money to do the whole road. If they don't have any money, how can they move over to another road if they don't have any money? If the road is on the list to be paved, looks to me like all the people on the road should be visited by you.

jsq note: I talked to him afterwards, and he said "you can't go back to the 1960s".

Fletcher: Will be in the works if commissioners give the OK at the next meeting.

Norris: Why should it be done like that? If it's on a list.

Carter: Next commission can make their own list.

Lee: 12-14 years of doing this, another road may be 20 on the list, and yours may be 2, but when we shoot that road, who's affected, how much acreage need to donate, if there's a groundswell of support on 20 to get 'er done, we go for the road with the RoW first, that's designed, that also costs money. If it's in the tube in his office and it's #20 and we've got the money for it, which is trickling in with the economy, that's why #20 goes over #2. Lot of people don't understand that. If it's ready to go and people cooperate with us as a community, we'll go with the path of least resistance on the paving.

Paulk: 2 other factors. Different areas of the county. Cheaper base in some areas. Robin does a good job of keeping up with the cost of maintenance. But we're trying to get to yours; not going to argue about how rough it is.

jsq note: I asked Robin later whether she had a list of costs of upkeep of dirt roads throughout the county for the past year. She said no, she didn't. We already knew she didn't have a list for five years back, since in response to a public records request county said they didn't have that. So I'm not sure what the Chair is referring to here.

Fletcher: Ezell Rd. 57 RoW deeds; 54 signed in one week.

John Green, 4608 Boring Pond Rd. Is a safety issue. 2 week window from when scraper comes in. Rain or dust clouds. Born in WV, mountain curvy roads, but this is a whole 'nother safety issue.

? Moss school bus driver, 30 years, Boring Pond Rd. Really bad road, calling about 1 a week about road needing to be scraped. Only 3 people were not wanting it paved.

More: Only 2.

jsq notes: Laptop battery ran down here. the rest of the meeting was basically a condensed version of the work session, with votes approving what they already discussed in the work session. See notes from memory on Court Clerk Crow issue below.

10. For Consideration

a. Utility Department Standard and Specification Update

b. ACCG IRMA Liability Program Renewal

c. Georgia Department of Corrections Inmate Labor Contract

d. Road abandonment of unopened ROW Chug-A-Lug Road

e. Request to withdraw from the former Lowndes County Board of Elections Property

f. Sprint Nextel Amendment Three for 800 MHz Reconfiguration

g. Proposal from Hulsey, McCormick, and Wallace, Inc. for Groundwater Sampling and Analysis at Clyattville Landfill

11. Reports

a. County Manager

From memory:

Commissioner Lee noted that he hadn't understood the previous day that Ms. Crow would get to keep all her RDC software and RDC would support it, just like before.

Aaron confirmed that that was the case, and that all that was changing was the network it would be supported on.

Chairman Paulk kept referring to the fiber optic cable: just one cable, instead of having to run two.

Court Clerk Crow started by asserting that she wanted the commission to make a decision at this meeting. After discussion, she changed that to could we have some discussion first about who exactly is doing what.

Paulk noted that none of the commissioners nor Clerk Crow understood all the technical details, and it would be best to get the county (Aaron) and RDC to sit down and make up a list of who was doing what.

Crow asked to be included in that meeting.

Paulk said sure, and he would also be in the meeting to help out.

After the meeting I pointed out to the Clerk later that the chair did listen, and later I commended the Chairman later on how he had handled that. Too bad the county didn't do this before telling everybody what would be done.

b. Valdosta/Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce

12. Executive Session