I've been going to County Commission meetings and in seven minutes
or ten minutes we are not getting the transparency that citizens deserve....
The County Commission can actually discuss issues in their meetings.
When you want to make an open records request, it seems to me a big
hurdle to go over to go down to the County Commission building,
to fill in a form,
know exactly what it is that you want,
and then take forty cents or fourteen dollars to get it.
Things should be available on the Internet.
We have technology; we're in the twenty-first century;
we should be using technology a lot better than we are.
I would say we can work with technology to make things more available.
The question I like to answer the most is:
why is it this way?
Why do we do it this way?
So whether we're talking about
why we divide the money this way,
or how do we decide which projects we're going to look at.
I'm open to discussion
and to dialog.
I'm concerned that a barrier to dialog is getting higher,
rather than lower. When the citizens make the effort to come to a meeting after a long day of work, or maybe they come in the morning when they don't actually get to talk, it's important for them to get a chance to be heard.
and the chair
"Maybe at some point in the future would be good."
The County Planner reiterated that they had no plans to do that.
and ZBOA agreed
to post ZBOA agendas and minutes online,
here they are on the Valdosta City website.
The County Commission a couple of years ago had
two different studies commissioned about growth and planning,
and one of them was...
growth close to existing services.
The county already has an urban service area,
like how far the water line goes, how far the sewer line goes. And that
growth should be infilled, and not expand outside of that area, because
that saves resources in terms of how far you have to send the sheriff,
how far the school bus has to go. And they also gave an average house
price, what it costs in terms of property taxes to support the services
that are sent to them, to a development.
So I would say close in to existing services is the way to go.
What the County Commission's
job is to vet the members,
to appoint the members who are on the County Industrial Authority....
Choosing the very best people, with new ideas...
to think outside the box
and to really reach out to new industries in our area
is the responsibility of the Industrial Authority,
but the appointments of those people is the County Commission's job.
If an agency, say LAMP,
wanted to apply for a grant from the Kellogg Foundation,
the government can act as a passthrough for that, help in writing the grant.
One of the things that prevents us from having really great jobs here
is that we don't have good networking infrastructure.
We do not have high speed Internet.
We do not have the opportunity to bring high-tech companies here.
In order to attract companies we need to have a good infrastructure framework.
Infrastructure is more than just roads and bridges.
It is the Internet, it is decent telephone service.
We're really lacking in those things, and we need to make a change.
As I've been going around the county and talking to different people,
I have talked to a variety of business owners.
And a business owner asked me the other day about the business license
And it was clear to me that when he described getting a business license
in Hahira, and in the county, and in Valdosta,
that there were some real streamlines that we could make to make
that process easier for businesses.
That he could only get a business license during the week,
that they all expire on different times:
there's a lot of things that we could use technology for to make our
business processes much more streamlined for our business owners.
The other thing is that when a business chooses to locate here,
they need to know that they're gonna get a fair shot,
that the deck isn't stacked against them, because somebody
else is already in that business,
or because somebody else knows someone they don't know.
They need to have a fair shot.
They need to do their fair share.
They need to make sure that they are working to employ our students,
And then they need to all play by the same rules.
Some time back I talked to the Home Builders Association
and they were interesting in seeing that the rules
were applied fairly to everyone.
We need to actively seek out manufacturing jobs,
so that we have something that people can do, like
Dublin, Georgia did, and
where they got solar manufacturers to come to their community.
They now make something that they send away and they do it over and over.
We need to do something like that here.
We need to expand the hospital, and
we're doing some of that now.
But we need to become a health-care destination.
And rather than our citizens going to Gainesville or Columbus
for specialized things, we need to have those services here.
And with the moving of the library and the auditorium,
that does offer the opportunity for the hospital to expand,
and to partner with VSU and the new healthcare training,
we can then train therapists and nurses and become even maybe
a teaching hospital where doctors that are training somewhere
could do their internships here; that would be great!