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Lowndes County Supervisor Meeting Report

The Lowndes County Supervisors met Monday morning at 9 a.m. for their regular first of the month meeting inside the boardroom of the courthouse.
County Chief Financial Officer Dave Basinger was first up presenting the County Claims Docket. He also presented several items that were considered surplus assets.
Next on the agenda was Link CEO Joe Higgins, who presented Chris Pace. Chris was representing Weyerhaeuser and seeking an approval of a fee-in-lieu of ad-valorem tax exemption for several expansion projects Weyerhaeuser has undertaken lately.
“It appears that in the next 12-24 months that Weyerhaeuser will have invested enough in the expansion process to qualify for an fee-in lieu of ad valorem tax agreement. We’ve prepared one of those and submitted to the board for approval. And to the extent that their expansion investment exceeds a $100,000,000 threshold to qualify for fee-in-lieu, the one that we presented the board today will basically kick in and overtake and supercede those ad-valorem exemptions the board has already granted.” Pace told the supervisors.
A motion was made to approve the ad-valorem tax exemption and the vote was unanimous in favor of.
Board President Harry Sanders commended Kent Walker (Weyerhaeuser plant manager, who also accompanied Higgins and Pace at the meeting) on their continued confidence in Lowndes County.
Next up before the board was Columbus Light & Water General Manager Todd Gale. Gale was asking for the supervisors continued participation in the Water Treatment Iron Oxide sludge disposal at the Columbus/Lowndes County Airport. Gale explained that the system would continue to take iron oxide sludge out of their lagoons at both water plants. (Iron oxide is simply rust. RW). Gale was also working in conjunction with the city of Columbus on the project as well. The supervisors approved the request unanimously.
Betty Wood Thomas was next up before the board. Thomas represented the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The local chapter is preparing an event with the Board of Supervisors for First Responders Day, a ceremony at the courthouse where first responder groups will be recognized, including the sheriff, the EMS’s and all volunteer fire departments throughout the county. The event is being planned ahead of the 10th anniversary of 9-11-01.
Thomas wanted a resolution drawn up by the supervisors to recognize Friday, September 9th as First Responders Day. The responders will then be presented with certificates during the ceremony at the courthouse.
The supervisors approved the resolution unanimously.
Thomas added that the Junior ROTC from West Lowndes High School, an all-girl group, will present the Colors and sing the Star Spangled Banner at the ceremony.
Next up on the agenda was County Purchase Clerk Terry Thompson seeking permission to advertise Semi-Annual bids for the Road Department. She propsed advertising on the 5th and 12th of August with bid openings on August 29th. Thompson then said that the results could be brought before the supervisors during their August 31st board meeting.
Golden Triangle Planning & Development Home Specialist Patsy Patterson came before the supervisors to announce the Home Program, a project that annually seeks grants to help build homes for low-income citizens in the county. The program assist those individuals in securing funds for the home-building project. Patterson said that the project can help build up to 5 homes, but not less than 3. Applicants must be low income and Lowndes County applicants have generally been above the median income (because most of the applicants who are successful in gaining assistance come from the much lower median income area of the Delta). District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith pointed out that Lowndes County applicants haven’t been successful in gaining assistance in over 5 years.
“Because there has been some misgivings that their projects have been approved (applicants in Lowndes County) but we haven’t been building houses for people. I just wanted to clear that up, ” Smith said.
“The city of Columbus has had 3 approved, ” said Patterson. “That may be where the confusion has come from.”
County Engineer Bob Calvert came before the board with a bridge replacement acceptance of State Aid for Old Wolf Road (north of Caledonia). Calvert also presented the 2012 Bridge Inspection Program. He said it was an 80-20 match (state/county) but the county will have to commit $21,110 (money will come from LSBP fees and no cost to the county itself).
Calvert also seeked a utility permit for Columbus Light & Water projects on Hargrove and Yorkville Roads. And appraisal authorization for County Line Road for a bridge replacement project.
GTPDD Project Analyst George Crawford came before the supervisors with several CBDG invoices on the North Steel Develoment project. The supervisors signed off on the invoices unanimously.
County Tax Assessor/Collector Greg Andrews was next up. Andrews brought forth the Homestead Exemption disallowances for 2011. He also announced that he has 3 new certified appraisers in his office. Andrews additionally told the supervisors that the state had approved his office’s 2011 Real & Personal Tax Rolls.
It was announced that there will be a public hearing on the Home Grant Program at the courthouse supervisor conference room Thursday, August 4th at 10:00 a.m.
The next supervisor board meeting will be held Monday, August 15th at 9 a.m.

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