The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has presented Lowndes County with the Distinguished Budget Award for fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 (Fiscal Year 2015). In order to receive the budget award, the entity has to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines which assess how well the budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. Budget documents are rated by three independent reviewers and must be rated proficient in all four categories to receive the award. The GFOA awards around 1,400 entities annually throughout the United States and Canada. This is the ninth consecutive budget award for Lowndes County.
The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving 18,000 government finance professionals throughout North America. The GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentations Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.
The Lowndes County Finance Department has a number of aircards (used in computers for internet connections) and cellular phones which are no longer in use and are ready to be disposed of. Staff requests that the Board declare these items surplus and authorize the disposal through a recycling company.
The County has received a request to abandon Deloach Road E (CR 95), from its intersection with Inner Perimeter Road to its intersection with S 94, the entire length being 0.26 miles long and is shown on the attached drawing. Georgia statute requires an initial determination that the “section of the county road system has for any reason ceased to be used by the public to the extent that no substantial public purpose is served by it or that its removal from the county road system is otherwise in the best public interest.” If the Board makes either or both of these determinations with respect to Deloach Road E, the statute provides for notice to adjoining property owners, notice to the public by newspaper publication, and a public hearing. After the public hearing, the Board “may declare that section of the county road system abandoned.”
In October 2014, following approval by the Board of Commissioners, Lowndes County submitted a funding proposal to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) on behalf of the Lowndes County Juvenile Court for funding to implement diversionary programs for youth who score low on the Predisposition Risk Assessment (PDRA) administered by Intake Officers of the Juvenile Court. As part of the application process the Board of Commissioners also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Evidence Based Associates (EBA) to utilize their services if funding for programs was awarded. Lowndes County was recently notified that their application has been selected for funding in the amount of $72,000 which will provide services to 24 youths and their families. EBA has submitted a service agreement which outlines the scope of work they will provide as well as administrative procedures such as billing. Upon approval of this agreement EBA will begin implementation of the Strengthening Families Program for those youth and their families referred through the Lowndes County Juvenile Court system.
This grant program requires no matching funds on the part of Lowndes County but is a reimbursement grant. This means that Lowndes County will be billed monthly by EBA for services provided and will submit a reimbursement request once the monthly invoices have been paid.
Services will be funded utilizing $72,000 in grant funding with no direct budget impact to Lowndes County's annual budget.
Lowndes County participates in the ACCG-GSIWCF (Group Self-Insurance Workers Compensation Fund) Insurance Program (a non-profit, Georgia County government owned insurance fund).
The 2015 renewal premium for Lowndes County is $237,760.00. However, due to a dividend credit of $15,159.00, the total amount due comes to $222,601.00. This is a decrease of $9,227.00, from the 2014 renewal of $231,828.00. It should be noted that the Lowndes County’s safety/loss control program contributed to an additional 7.5% or $19,277.00, reduction in premium costs for 2015.
Staff is seeking approval of the 2015 ACCG Workers Compensation Insurance renewal in the amount of $222,601.00.
At the September 32, 2014, regular meeting, the Commission approved an agreement between Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta for the funding of the Public Safety Radio System. Since, changes were made to the payment schedule and now the Commission is being asked to approve a new funding agreement. The agreement before the Commission was approved by the Valdosta City Council at their last regular meeting.
During routine inspections of the Lowndes County sewer line, it was discovered that as a result of the corrosive atmosphere from sewer gases, 15 manholes have deteriorated and are in need of rehabilitation.
Two bids have been obtained:
1) Standard Contractors - $129,745.00
2) Radney Plumbing - $97,518.70
Both bids include updating the structures to include lining the manholes in addition to repairing the brick and mortar. This will add life to the structures which vary in age from 7 to 15 years. In order to help reduce the need for emergency repairs, staff recommends that the Board of Commissioners approve the Radney Plumbing bid for $97,518.70 to rehabilitate the 15 manholes.
These repairs are a budgeted item for FY 2015.