The Lowndes County Commission has retreated to Berrien County once again this year. So far they've talked about budgets and finance, LOST and SPLOST, departmental requests, and the local Land Bank Authority, with the occasional policy interjection. Commissioners and staff were clearly taking their tasks very seriously, although not without humor from John Page's sneeze. And I congratulate them on going some place that couldn't have cost much. I wish they'd talk more about policy and strategies for increasing the pie, rather than almost entirely about how to divvy up the existing pie. Video will follow; meanwhile here are a few notes.
On the one hand, it's great that county staff have pulled together and managed with 30 fewer people, and while Commissioner Page was right that that's efficiency, I think Chairman Slaughter was even more right in saying it's beyond that, it's beyond capacity. County Manager Joe Pritchard noted if there's no SPLOST, the current Commission will have to decide between cutting some services and raising taxes. That's no doubt true, and he indicated that Valdosta seemed to be waiting to hear what the County wants to do about SPLOST, while the county is waiting to hear what Valdosta wants to do. Several people remarked that the prior LOST negotiations (which are currently on judicial hold pending one participant returning from the current session of the state legislature) did affect SPLOST losing in the most recent election. I didn't hear anybody suggest holding public hearings this time, but Commissioner Marshall did say it would be good to say what SPLOST funds would be for in some detail.