The public defender said the county palace (that we're still mysteriously paying on) didn't have space for his office. The Industrial Authority request to buy some still-unspecified property “has been pulled from the agenda” by unspecified forces. The new 4-H agent spoke and a bus was discussed. One Commissioner forgot to show up until late to hear Workers' compensation is going up and the Commission's own schedule is being adjusted for holidays. There was little substantive discussion, and there's no sign anything will change at the Lowndes County Commission unless enough people want it to. They vote this evening at 5:30 PM, and they do have Citizens Wishing to be Heard, although it is still at the end, after all the votes.
Here's the agenda, with links to videos, and a few notes.
- Call to Order
The chairman thanked people for taking time out of their day to come, including staff. This is puzzling, since I thought county staff were paid to be there as part of their work.
- Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
- Introduction of the New 4-H Agent
Lowndes County Extension Agent Jake Price introduced District Director Laura Johnson who thanked the Commission for supporting County Extension: salary, IT support, and "all the great relations." She said former 4-H agent Melinda Miller moved to the district office, creating a vacancy. The new 4-H agent is Laura Walton, formerly of Cherokee County. Commissioner Powell joked that they were so pleased with the new agent he thought they were going to approve a new bus for 4-H.
- Minutes for Approval
- Work Session — December 10, 2012
- Regular Session — December 11, 2012
- For Consideration
- Approval of the Commission Meeting Schedule
Adjustments for 21 January Martin Luther King Holiday (moved Work Session to same morning as evening Regular Session, 22 Jan), same adjustment for 27 May Memorial Day; both meetings will be on Tuesday 28 May.
- Workers Compensation Insurance Renewal
"Kevin" explained it was an annual renewal through ACCG's program, $217,372 this time. “And from the history you can see on that sheet” (but we the taxpayers can't see) he said there were several credits.
- Renewal of Public Defenders Services Contract & Operating Contract for 2013
Lowndes County Public Defender John Kent Edwards Sr said it was the time of year he went to all the counties in the Southern Judicial Circuit asking for renewal funds. In particular, Lowndes, Brooks, and Echols joijn together to provide the Valdosta-Lowndes County office, which is located in the Bank of America building. County Attorney made some sort of clarification among various documents that we the taxpayers didn't get to see. Commissioner Powell wanted to know if there was any space in a county building that might reduce rental costs. Kent said the current lease ran through 2013. He said they were originally proposed to be in the county's judicial building, but apparently space was not available. Which is rather surprising: they county spent all that money on a new judicial building (that we're mysteriously still paying on after we were told it was paid off) yet didn't allow enough space for the public defender's office.
- rollover funds and conflict cases
County Manager Pritchard mentioned “in the document you submitted in your review for approval by the board today” (but we the taxpayers can't see) there was mention of rollover funds. Public defender explained those were reserved for conflict cases. Pritchard wanted to know how many employees were referenced by "this $24,000". Public defender said there were 24 county employees. Pritchard asked for more figures.
- health insurance and retirement contributions
Costs of those went up, and the state will not pay for that, so the county needs to. Commissioner Raines (I think that was who spoke) wanted to know if the amount requested was the full amount. Public Defender said no, it was 49% which was Lowndes County's share by population. Total amount was $48,577.31.
- Valdosta/Lowndes County Industrial Authority — Request to Purchase Property
Chairman Slaughter's explanation:“Our next item, d, has been, actually has been pulled from the agenda, so we won't be, um, addressing that.”
He didn't even actually say the Industrial Authority had withdrawn it; just some mysterious force (maybe gravity, who knows?) had pulled it from the agenda. What property was it VLCIA wanted to purchase? Still unknown.
- Bid — Multi Function School Activity Bus for 4H
County Manager Joe Pritchard asked Finance Director Stephanie Black to explain the bids, and he also cast about for someone from public works to help, eventually waving at “Tommy” in the audience. (Usual bid presenter Lisa Burton apparently was absent.) Black said 4-H had raised $24,000 that they had applied to the purchase of a 14-passenger bus used for 4-H functions throughout Georgia. The county will pay the balance. Bids received were from Langdale Ford for a Ford bus for $53,178, and for a Chevy bus for $53,641, and from Yancy Bus Sales in Macon $57,557. Tommy said something that was quite hard to hear. Pritchard said they'd have a picture of the bus on the screen the next night. Of the old bus? Of the new proposed buses? He didn't say. He did thank the 4-H "kids" for providing funds, claiming the county otherwise wouldn't be able to afford such a bus. Chairman Slaughter thanked 4-H.
- Reports-County Manager
No report, so they adjourned
- Citizens Wishing to be Heard Please State Name And Address
That's only at the Regular Session, which is tonight at 5:30 PM.